Here Is My Body – For The 234 Missing Nigerian Girls

Here is my body,
I’m giving it you to weigh
on your market scales,
to tell me the value of each
of flesh;
each coil and cuticle and cell of

You tell me you are making subtractions for
my sex
my colour
my continent,
recalculating the weight of my worth
as the needle of your measure
rotates backwards
like a delirious eye
choosing to see
all at once.

I am missing girl number 235,
Disappeared from the spaces of power,
my value a little less because
I have parts and thoughts and colours
that you would throw to the dogs as gizzards.
This is my hazard;
to be birthed as I was,
in the wrong skin and body and country,
to the wrong world and leaders and media.

I only wanted to go to school so that I could learn,
But you un-learnt me the day
I disappeared
Forgot I existed as your world continued on its axis,
unperturbed by my absence,
Only my mother and father still care about the colour of
my shoes and socks
and satchel,
my favourite dress I wear to church
the vivid hues of my smiles;
the way my hair smells as mama parts it to comb and oil and plait.

To them I have a name, a future, a purpose;
To you I am just a number,
amorphous like a cumulus cloud
accumulating no extra value
with the days that pass,
because like clouds, some people
are vapours
that only drift in and out of the sky’s memory
with the time and season of day.

So here is my body;
I am giving it to you to weigh,
Hungry, Scared and Scarred;
You say there are 234 others of me
and that we are a dime a dozen.
We are almost twenty dozen girls here,
twenty dimes,
twenty times the misery,
but offered at discount price
like guts and entrails and fetid blood;
gizzards for the highest bidder’s dog.

8 thoughts on “Here Is My Body – For The 234 Missing Nigerian Girls

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