A Nigerian Girl’s Prayer

by Shade Akinmorin

Bruised, blood-stained feet of a child.

Growing pains, working in the fields

‘til she grows lame.

Dusk ‘til dawn, cultivating yams

hoping one day to get a raise

in status above her siblings.

She has four brothers

so why even bother,

in a male infested world

that she will never conquer.

Sold at fourteen

to a man fifty years older

in the dark he would behold her

undeveloped features make her angelic

but a look in the mirror and all she sees is demonic.

Vomiting at her sight

but she really knows she’s starving the baby inside,

that she hopes dies, so it won’t have to be a girl

so that she can tell her lies,

that her beauty and mind is what makes her defined.

Her bones boldly defined, in her thin green Ankara

that she strips off

exposing masked scars

that she cut into her arms.

She hasn’t seen her mom in 10 seasons

after her father auctioned her off to this demon.

Laying down in bed

she whispers her final prayer:

“Lord, swallow the hate that consumes this world.

Shed tears on the fires that burn our souls,

Evoke wisdom for those who will listen,

And I pray peace for all God’s children.”