Poetry by Safiya Ismaila Yero

Poetry by Safiya Ismaila Yero

By Safiya Ismaila Yero

The Sting

The slap stings
But hushed gossiping tongues of neighbours will sting more
Their piteous words and mocking eyes
Will gnaw at my insides
Nibble at my honour
My integrity
My pride
So I collect the lesser sting of slap with endurance
Like a Fulani in labour
After all, the slap comes from a palm I have kissed
Fingers that have moulded the tuwo I prepared
Fingers licked clean by a devouring tongue the delicious soup I prepared
Same tongue once cooed messages of love in my ears
Same tongue now catapults missiles of insults at me
I brace myself as it comes flying at me like lightning
And land like a thunderbolt on my right cheek
I swallow hard as I feel the sting
A thousand scorpion stings rolled in one
Again and again and again
Left cheek right cheek left cheek right cheek right cheek
I long lost count
I clamp my lips tight and endure
Screaming will bring neighbors
And gossips
And my husband will be pointed at
And described as the one who turns his wife to a drum
And that will bring him shame
Haven’t I been taught not to bring my husband any shame?
Haven’t I been taught to be obedient and submissive?
What choice do I have than to collect the slaps
Like the good obedient wife I was told to be?
What are wives for,
If they cannot keep their family affair within family?
My swollen eye can be a boil in the making
Or maybe an insect choose to bite me there
My broken lip?
For anyone who cares to ask
Oh I slipped and fell
Then I will receive a different pity, genuine pity
Not the outrageous type that sets tongues wagging
Which stupid wife tells when her husband slaps her in the confines of their bedroom
Or kicks her in the privacy of the bathroom
Or bangs her head against the kitchen sink for putting too much salt in the stew?
I doubt if I can stand the outside sting
The inside one is mine to live with
I pray it will lose its venom though.

10 Years Anniversary

Together you and I
Climbed the Kilimanjaro
Descended to the bottom of the seas
In waves of emotions
Preambled by throbs of love
smiles and yearns
We locked our fingers you and I
And vowed together we’ll remain
Two years or so down the lane
The music changed
So did the dance
new tune eerie
With melodies of slaps
sobs
And a taste of bitterness down the throat
Helplessly I watched my smile sashay away
The door to my bright future shut on my face with a shattering bang
One moonless night
I tried to draw my fingers out
To unknot this knot we tied in love
Firmly you held on
And brought me down the Kilimanjaro
On your bare back without ropes or tools
And we did not fall nor did we crash
You made sure we did not sink
In the deep blue sea
Afloat you propelled me
Without a raft or a boat in sight
But we did not drown
Our only tool being
A belief in the love that we once shared
And now afresh we soon shall start
Thank you for holding on till ten
And after ten,
It is one: a new beginning!


Safiya Ismaila Yero is from North East Nigeria. She obtained a B.A. and M.A. in English and Literature from the University of Abuja,.She obtained a Postgraduate Diploma in Education from the Nigerian Teachers’ Institute (NTI). She taught in a secondary school before joining the University of Abuja where she works as an Administrative Officer. Her debut novel , When There is Life, was published by ALMAZ Books in 2013. She is current working on her PhD in Literature Dissertation entitled “Emergent Trends in Contemporary Northern Nigerian Fiction”. Safiya is also a poet, book reviewer and editor. She is married and blessed with two children.

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