She glides down the catwalk
Confident in her African beauty.
Her dress an African sunset,
Swirls of purple, pink, orange and blue
Catch the light, shimmer in the photographer’s glare.
She wears her chains with ease
They don’t shackle her,
She’s reclaimed them in silk.
These feet, encased in jewel encrusted shoes,
Used to walk barefooted on her way to school.
Dust staining her toes saffron.
On Saturday she’d go market with her mother
Buy green plantain, glossy yellow peppers,
Brown dried fish. The fragrance of cinnamon,
Sage, clove and cardamom intoxicated her.
Women wore their weekend best,
Colours as dazzling as the
Vegetables and spices they were buying.
She never forgets where she came from
She’s more than a clothes horse for a nation.
She’ll keep on telling of the day when
Her mother took her to the woman’s house.
Of the lightless interior and the stench of
Disinfectant and blood. How her mother
And grandmother held her down on the green mat
While the woman cut. She will keep on telling
How, on her seventh birthday, she became a woman.