(Remembering 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence)
By Bai S. G. Best © 2018
What started off as a thing of adventure
unleashed a world of trouble
that has lasted ‘til now.
Little girl, fine girl
Big girl, bigger girl — hey!
A badge of honor, or so it seemed
to you, but to another, a despicable game
Did you know what it meant or could represent?
Could you have foreseen the twists in the way it went?
Yet you were encouraged, emboldened — brave girl!
They made you believe you could conquer the world.
And there you were,
Testing the limits of your strength,
Your fears and your drive for accomplishment
Bruising your thighs and your toes and your knees
on the barks of the plum and the coconut trees.
With every new height came a personal best
And the “Icarus level” would prove the real test
But the test of all tests was the fruit, not the tree
Not the plum, but the fruit yet unplucked upon thee.
You were warned, weren’t you?
We saw you in the tree — don’t say it na true,
We will tell your ma.
“No, please don’t!” Anathema.
To you, ’twas the secret of the forbidden tree
But there was a secret even you did not perceive
Your innocence drifting on the waves of the knell
He knew the deeper truth and kept it all to himself.
His secret of your secret of his secret over time
Your misdemeanor justified and covered by his crime,
This moral distortion
Of inclement proportion
Trickery of the crudest kind
Made seemingly sublime
You trusted, you obeyed
For there was no other way
but to do or to dare
Lest it reach your mother’s ear.
Now, to shut up or share —
Who to trust, who will care?
You grope for light and refuge and meaning
Grab what you can and all that you’re gleaning
Are stories of many, like yours, that exist
In silence as others emerge on the list
Say something, DO SOMETHING!!! to which most reply:
“The time when we talk, they think say we lie.”
Sigh. Anger. Courage. Decide.
Foward. Action. Sound the Battlecry!
The past is behind, the future awaits
Generations unborn must learn from this case.
The sun shall rise and shall set, no doubt
And seasons will turn, full measure, all-out;
Now, behold the fruit of the tree of your life
And the chance of a change for this child’s little life.
In your fruit, rediscover your root
In your weakness, you find the truth
No more secrets — woman, you are free!
This tapestry of you, a marvel to me.