Bring Back Our Girls: Our Naked Mothers Walk

Our mothers walk naked through Abjua,
as if flesh that made us could rescue us.

Someone must be watching.

Our fathers, armed with love and bows
come for us, too. They know
this Sambisa forest, snakes
as lethal as these men,
who give evil to these woods.

They think I am theirs
for the taking? As if they could steal
my future, as I had not learned
to speak up, add, read, dream,
as if I had lost my voice?

Life has steeled me for men
such as these. Fear me.

I have a future, it lives
in a dream each night. The jungle
sounds frighten me, but I hear
my mother’s voice,
singing me to sleep.

I dream that I lift over these trees
and reach her, cloak us in strength,
then rise above these men,
who think nothing
of me.

I hear my father’s arrows aiming true.
My mother’s cries
surely reach the world.

Someone must be coming for us,
armies of the good,
who have no fear, who know

we girls are the pulse of the world.