by Rosemary Esehagu
Version 2.0, new and improved.
Not better than or equal to.
You call her woman.
Somehow the efficiency of her creator
in not needing so much raw material,
was proof of her second-rate status,
of her continual dependence on man.
Never mind that this woman
has complete form, lacking no part,
that her beauty brings men
and nations to their knees,
that her mind, its capacity
to nurture, inspire or
contemplate multiple variables simultaneously
a mystery to man. But alas
maybe it’s much simpler,
perhaps the relationship between versions
is big brother and little sister.
Then where is the protection,
the responsibility of their elder?
Where is the focus on advancing
the young, sacrificially,
almost to a fault?
Perhaps instead it’s like the big brother fuming,
sharing attention and recognition.
And so, throws tantrums,
like thunder raging in the sky,
provoking parents to buy
a watchful eye that alerts to mischief
from big brother’s sister.
Why were you created?
Before We Get Too Old
by Rosemary Esehagu
I watched you leave.
You slammed the door
but, at the last minute, changed your mind
about slamming it.
You caught the cacophonous bang of the door
with your hand whose four appendages
paid the price of your indecision.
suffocating your yell,
just as you prepared to free them.
Your face wrinkled like the lines
of the crumpled newspapers that broke the day’s bad news.
Your hands fisted and readied to pounce,
but you did nothing, except leave—
another argument we could not have.
We owed so much debt and pain
from the others we have yet to settle.
You walked away, never once looking back,
your head held up high,
your feet dragging so I heard each sluggish step
for seconds more after my eyes could no longer see you.
A tear from your eyes, even if borrowed
or an act aptly executed for a time like this,
would have released the ocean behind my eyes
and released memories of why we were.
I would have remembered
your jokes that cause bursts of teary raucous laughter or
your gazes at me that beseeched the world
to pause so you had time to take me in,
your heart salivating in yearnings for me.
I would have remembered that time at the beach
when we licked the salty water from each other’s skin,
quenching our thirst with each other,
then watching the waves fall upon waves,
splashing and frolicking with no shame under our adoration.
I would have then had the courage
to call your name,
to call you back to me.
Rosemary Esehagu is a native Nigerian who currently lives in Texas. She is the author of the novel, The Looming Fog. Her poems have been published in Plum Recruit, A Little Poetry, African Writer Magazine, and Elephant Journal. She loves to explore the mind and how external forces play a role in its development and health.