CONIAGUI WOMEN:

CONIAGUI WOMEN:

The Coniagui women wear their flesh like war

bear children

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

cooking pot

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

before them

she closes her door.

They become men.

By

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