Cultivated Flame

At 8:22 am, she sneaks back into her husband’s house like a thief in the night
He meets her in the hall and pleads with her
He tells her he didn’t mean to hurt her
His words, as always, are met with a smile as bright as the sun now bursting through
the ajar curtain, highlighting her bruised cheek which he kisses
His lips cold
She carries on
Daily duties, nausea
Phone call gossip, nausea
Grocery shopping, nausea
It’s been 2 months a week and 3 days since the doctor told her
She’s running out of time. He can’t know
But still she carries on her new-found routine
And tells her unborn baby a story
You, will love yourself first
You will stand bold and command like a lioness
You will create your own rules and dominate your empire
You will not cower in the corner when a man raises his voice or his hand to you
Honey, we will raise kings
Who will not have to unlearn the lessons our fathers were taught by their fathers
Because we will keep misogyny from their bones and mix respect in their porridge
until it is embedded in their souls
And you? You will wear every female adjective like a badge of honour
Boards and cabinets will be filled with voices as smooth as flour
From flowers left to grow, the garden looked a little brighter.
Like you, like your future

Your melanin will not be tainted, as is mine, by scars and bruises by a man
It will glow. It will radiate as far as your dreams go
The song you sing to your soul will not be to refurbish but to replenish
You, my love, are master of your own body
Command it how you want
Let it dance to the rhythm of your heart beat and hips strut
Reality falls on her like a storm
She gathers her thoughts, and her clothes
Her mother’s locket, her chipped silver earrings
And shuts the door behind her
Realising that this bright future she paints will need a canvas first
Chikumbutso’s words beating in her ear like an earworm
So, she leaves
For the sake of her daughter, she leaves