Aisha and Ahmadu had forbidden words to say
Aisha and Ahmadu had fears they couldn’t allay
Aisha and Ahmadu had feelings they wouldn’t drive away.
This is a story of Aisha and Ahmadu…
There are no ends to us
We begin and keep circling the universe
As beings, as creatures, as a life force
Have you wondered how our Fathers could find beauty
In cruelly drawn facial marks –
That is if you thought they were made of cruelty
And not with festive exultation as of larks –
Our children too will wonder about the terms of the peace we made with encircling evil.
They will wonder why we did not rage in streets and throw off these chains of being civil.
Let us return to our characters,
For this is a story of Aisha and Ahmadu…
233 and Aisha,
A squad of sisters,
Should we state their value?
Because it seems we have mastered how to devalue lives
As a retaliation for the continual devaluation of our currency.
Aisha and 233 sisters…
Did you not read that right?
Aisha and 233 sisters…
Write that in your heart,
Where you list out everything you hold dear
233 girls. Write it in capitals, ring a neon light about it.
Let it outshine your selfishness
Your complicit silence
233 girls And AISHA!!
What does Ahmadu have to do with it?
Do you think only mothers and fathers lose out.
Is it because you have not entered the daily nightmares of Ahmadu
That leaves him holding on to sanity by the slimmest cords
Nor seen the Aisha-sized vacancy in his head he is filling with mounds of regrets
Did you think Aisha and the 233 girls were stick figures without accumulated yesterdays?
That they aren’t more than made-for-TV sobbing black mothers and bitter nostalgic fathers?
Or dramatic, pop-cred hashtags?
Did you think they too did not have crushes?
And first kisses to look forward to,
And music stars they were crazy about,
And fashion pieces to sketch,
And tomboyish traits to explore
And menstrual periods that came with painful cramps
And childhood trauma they lugged around and were running from in textbooks and education –
They too are, Were.
So lay down your banners and awkward selfies of #bringbackourgirls…
Refuse to shrug and pray…
This world was made in our own image
Of picture-masked indifference, of Forgetting, of self preservation.
Maybe you want to say its all politics, this robbery, politics
So, today politics is stealing the Aboki girls
Tomorrow, it will come as a stray bullet to hit a young, pretty ngbati girl
And the next day it will meet a smart, teenage nye-nmiri girl on her way from the terminus
As a bomb explosion, burying her in scattered pieces, 6 feet deep, in a bloody crater,
And the day after that, a big-boned izon girl will collide with the freedom fighters from the creeks,
Who will snatch the freedom between her legs,
Pass her among themselves,
And when they are done, gulch her, then throw her face first in the mud of an oil-filmed river.
And it will still be just politics.
This is a story of Aisha and Ahmadu,
How they’ll never be, because we never were concerned.
A story of Aisha and 233 girls.
A squad of stolen sisters.
There are no ends to us,
We have only beginnings,
Lets begin to remake our world.