Thursday, 31 March 2011

Remember This, My Daughter

For a Prompt from Poet's United Thursday Think Tank #42 Love
                                                  [image from google:]

My daughter, do you want me to tell you
How I met your father? How it all begun?
Blow off that smoke first, this hut is stuffy
Not doing good to my already teary eyes
( Daughter complies. I told you romance taglines
Have a way with the heart, huh?)

T’was one Sunday afternoon in the marketplace
My daughter,
When your father saw me
I was dressed in my lorwaa, swaying this way that way
In free Kacheliba wind, trapping breaths of men in my aura
My legs oiled with ghee, my hair burnt with hot broken pot
My neck straight like an arrow, my eyes dimmed with “innocence”

I had heard about your father
He had tore a live leopard into two
And still had the nerve to skin it
Word had it that he was once stepped on by an elephant
And in his manliness, he only winced
Such acts of bravery, my daughter,
Drew me to your father
But for the heck of it, I played the hunted antelope!

But wait till your father stood before me
His tear-a-leopard-bravado all gone
His wince-instead-of-crying all faded
Him standing there, just a man
As if he is before a shrine fiddling with two competing wishes!
Now see him, your father,
Standing before me, breath stuck high up his bronchus
And me, sizing him up, feigning impatience
See me tilt my eyebrows and ask ‘what brings you here?’
See your father fumble with so simple a question
Talking about the latest floods of River Suam
How the sun is burning so, blah blah blah…
Now see me growing impatient
Snapping, simulating anger
Tilt your microscope to my heart
The laugh I give for your father
The love I secretly habour for him

My daughter, but of feigning I didn’t for long
Try as I did ( I told you he tore a leopard?
Not accurate: he tore into my heart too, although in a softer way)
We secretly met in posho mills, on river paths, in the sorghum fields
How blood rushed to my head, how those hands felt warm
How tranquil we felt just the two of us lying on sand at night
How deaf we were to the laugh of hyenas and cowbells of lost bulls
Your father could joke to me that the witch I had gone to
Did a perfect job
And I could joke to him about the “sun is burning so”, blah bah blah
( At this point, he could tug at my necklace and “choke” me)

My daughter, I only loved your father
I swore by the graveside of my grandfather to love him alone
And these breasts you suckled bear me witness
If there is love other than that, my good daughter,
I don’t know

And when your father came for aloto
They gave forty cows, forty goats, four beehives of honey
And four containers of kumiket
Because I was the jewel that I was worth

How beautiful I felt, my daughter
Milking the cow in my homestead
Stealing glances at my man taking sour milk
How beautiful, carrying the seed of my man
In my womb, eating anthills in my homestead
How beautiful I felt if I dared unmarried women
To lift up my lorwaa, to mock a curse
Because I was the wife of so-and-so

And as the years grow, my good daughter
Seeing you grow to be a woman
Your blood rushing just like me
You also feigning impatience
You also deaf to the laugh of hyenas
Remember this, my daughter, you live
In a war zone with flying bullets
With no rules to decorum
It is upon you to exercise judgment
Not to be in the crossfire.

C) Lorot Salem 2011

Lorwaa—a  Short, Sexy Pokot traditional dress.
River Suam- a river in Kacheliba, Pokot North District, Kenya.
Posho Mill- a flour mill.
Aloto- a Pokot marriage negotiation usually done the whole night. The bridewealth is usually negotiated upon the whole night and a consensus reached in the wee hours of the morning or shortly before dawn or morning.
Kumiket- a Pokot traditional liquor made of honey. It is usually drank on special occasions especially during marriage celebrations, when some rites of passage are being conducted et al.


Sherry Irvine said...

Captivating and beautiful story....I enjoyed every second in your world...xo

Mia said...

hope to see you there!


Jingle said...

cool sentiments,
it is fun to share your love story with your kids.

Andy said...

You captured this beautifully. Totally enjoyed reading.

Salem Lorot said...

@ Sherry Irvine,thank you for stopping by. You write so beautifully and I will be following you.

@Mia, thank you so much. I am there already. Just working on some nuts and bolts and wham bam I will be doing my thing.

@ Jingle, as always, I am humbled. Thank you for commenting.

@ Andy, thank you for stopping by. You write so beautifully too. See me there.

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