Ironing Out Problems In Cameroon – A sonnet for stolen womanhood by Karen Barton

‘They’re mutilating little girls’ breasts in Cameroon to “protect them” from Boko Haram.’

Phillip Obaji Jr.

 

My mother takes in ironing, women’s work,

feeding her ever-growing family.

Neighbours bring thin bundles to our tin shack,

sweet-scented sweater-soft girls, breasts swelling,

creasing their outsized blazers, school blouses.

I cannot look. While they’re playing, squatting

in the bustling backyard, catching beetles

under cracked coconut shells, I’m listening

to laughter and lamentations, shop-talk

barters, over coffee drunk from chipped cups.

Bargains struck, their mothers leave, playtime stops –

beside hot cooking pots and smoothing-rocks –

Mama irons soft breasts back into girls’ ribs

to walk our unsafe world unmolested.

5 thoughts on “Ironing Out Problems In Cameroon – A sonnet for stolen womanhood by Karen Barton

  1. Pingback: Poems of Protest – a write old song and dance

  2. Pingback: Poems of Protest – the paper cut poet

  3. Wow! The ending is one that knocks the air right out of me and the stars I see are outrage and anger. Now THIS is a poem of witness in the very best sense. Thank you for this wonderful poem.

    Liked by 1 person

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