Monday, March 4, 2013

For the Somali Warrior

A woman rises from her pallet

Sky still charcoal, the air chill

In her cloth too thin for warmth

She takes a calabash

And straps it to her forehead

Makes her way in the gray morning

To the high hill and beyond

To the waterhole where lions come

At dusk, now quiet

She fills the vessel

And strides carefully

Back to her house made of twigs

The house she made herself

Next she starts the fire

Rolls the meal into a flat round

And adds it to the pan

Never taking off the ropes of beads

Around her neck and wrists

Never growing out her black curls

More than an inch

Her man gets up now

Enticed by the smell of food

Lifts his head from the wooden pillow

Pats his elaborate headdress

Wraps his cloth around him

Stands and reaches behind her

Kisses her neck where no bead impedes him

Slaps her bottom where she has not been cut

And where she still feels something

And the woman grabs the hot bread

By the edges with her fingers

Tossing it into the center of a plate

She hands it to her husband

And looks out the door

At the rays of new morning

Dancing on the dusty earth.

* * *
This poem will appear in Veils, Halos and Shackles:  International Poetry on the Abuse and Oppression of Women.