“Until the lions have their own historians, the history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter”
– Chinua Achebe
Egwu adiro atu afo, oburu uzo.
My great-grandfather’s squinting eyes drew haze over the horizon belonging to my great-grandmother,
creating a painting of African sun.
She was a woman of the earth///the earth made woman of her
dirt laced fingers and sand peppered knees spoke love to corn and cassava
praying only to the god she held within her bosom.
At the rise of afternoon pestle etched callous as she pounded fufu into brown freckled mortar.
Like all men——- my great-grandfather admired.
His yellowed eyes enchanted by her flat nose and cow belly plump lips
to her skin peeled ripe from ebony and hips swept wide for birth
to the sweet smell of a hardworking woman.
So he grew chest and three goats to bring back to her village
and she agreed to be his seventh wife.
Uto mmii wu ete bele.
Drums beat to the laughter of pot bellied men
wine carrying IS the wedding.
My great-grandfather squatted hidden in murraya bush leaves
while my great-grandmother’s feet kissed the ground to it’s pulsing rhythm
red wrapper bouncing to her waist
palm wine swimming in the ivory tusk of her forefathers.
She searched through purple plume grass and behind corkwood trees
only finding men pretending to be my great-grandfather.
Until the the rustle of murraya bush leaves seized her eyes
tusk weighed his hands
palm wine touched his lips
and a river stretched out around their families.
Mmanu akara di uto; onye ratu, ibe ya a ratu.
My great-grandfather’s land could make a village.
Splitting vast of dust rich colors.
For each wife had a house of her own
and they stuck together tightly
(clay, women, bamboo stick, children).
Leading to feasts that were long and winding~
sun fed siblings chasing behind the shadows of their mothers
and snapping stomachs waiting for their dent of garri to be filled with okra soup.
The open air hugging them tenderly.
**the following are all Igbo proverbs in relation to which part of the story they were put in front of, but not all their meanings translate that well, when put into English.
*Egwu adiro atu afo, oburu uzo~ fear doesn’t affect the stomach, that’s why it’s always in front
*Uto mmii wu ete bele~ wine tastes sweeter when you dance
*Mmanu akara di uto; onye ratu, ibe ya a ratu~ bean cake oil is sweet, one who tastes should allow others to have a taste
Kechi Mbah is a high school junior and was born and raised in Houston, TX. She is the founder of her school’s poetry club, and recently started writing poetry for the page in August 2020. Her poems have appeared in The Incandescent Review and The Courtyard. She is a 2020 semifinalist in Space City Slam (Houston’s largest teen slam competition). In addition to writing poetry, some of her hobbies include: reading on the lawn chair outside, learning ASL, playing soccer, and participating in hackathons.