Celebrating East African Writing!
Why do you cry, and startle the women,
Why does your shrill cry split the silence so!
And drown the ululation of these mothers
Who have come to hold your mother’s hand
And usher you to your second life
While your father roams the city, searching
Searching for a drink and searching for women?
Why are you so ungrateful, child,
Why do you bite my nipple and scratch my hands
These hands that hold and feed you
These hands that clothe and you
While your father roams the streets, working
Working the drink and working the women?
Ah! Child, are your eyes too small or the light too blinding?
Do you not see the glint of the circumciser’s knife?
As he cuts you and gives you a name
The name of your father’s clan
While your father roams the fields, gathering
Gathering a drink and gathering women?
Are your ears still too wet, too small perhaps,
Do you not hear the drums, hands clap and feet thumping?
The soloist’s climax and the chorus of your kinsmen
Praising your mother and your father’s clan
While your father roams the country, dancing
Dancing with drink and drunken women?
Why do you kick like a restless donkey,
And clench your fist tightly like one holding a stone?
Are your fists not too small to clasp, your muscle too supple to throw?
Will you also hit me and kick me
While your father roams the earth, hitting,
Hitting on drink and hitting on women?
Why do you cry and shame me, child,
Will you not grow tall, and strong
And hold my back when my spine is gone
When these limbs grow old and shaky
Will you not guide me to my death bed?
While your father roams the earth, dying
Dying with drink and dying of women?