The Coniagui women wear their flesh like war
who have eight days to choose their mothers
the children must decide to stay
boys burst from raised loinst
wisting and shouting
from the bush secret they run
beating the other women
avoiding the sweet flesh
hidden near their mother’s fire
but they must take her blood as a token
the wild trees have warned them
“Beat her and you will be free”
on the third day
they creep up to her
bubbling over the evening’s fire
she feeds them
yam soup and silence.
“Let us sleep in your bed,” they whisper
“let us sleep in your bed,” they whisper
“let us sleep in your bed.”
But she has mothered
she closes her door.
They become men.
By Audre Lorde