a world women inhabit


Agbeni Market, Ibadan, Image courtesy of digitaljournal.com

love literature defies the terror
roving beyond closed doors
in here, she is protected
sentence by sentence
alone among many
(do they know?)
they are sisters in word-whispers
illicit but spared
they breathe life into a world
forbidden, sin-ridden,
unveiling secret truths unspoken

shadows beguile her face
downturned, glow-lit
she smiles
only inside

stories bound by secrets
strapped, wrapped
stacked roadside in table-heaps
traded and spread between foodstuffs
yams, tomatoes, Milo
this resistance, bought and sold,
outpaces the oily, gun-fed noise
of the times


Title taken from a line in this article about the northern Nigerian women who overcome the oppression and atrocities surrounding them by writing what have become extremely popular romance stories. 


2 thoughts on “a world women inhabit

  1. Beautiful write, and thank you for the link. I love your sounds in this:
    “sisters in word-whispers”
    “strapped, wrapped/stacked”
    Also the visual imagery moving from intimate to wide-open, market-loud.
    For me, “she is protected/liberated” especially captures a sense of the article.

    • Thank you! I heard the story on the news a few weeks ago, then did some research and have been playing with this ever since. It’s good to hear what worked and that the mood and sense of the story came through.

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