A. Define loss in the following topics:
The pieces were pieces before everything broke.
There is a relativity to what culture you can call
To spread a disease, dip it in the Holy word, hide it
under a veil, exhume a twelve-year-old girl
collapsing back into her mother’s eyes, tear-
stained henna distilling love and innocence,
Asalam alaikum escaping somewhere out
B. Identify the sources:
They carcass long before we bury their bodies.
A wedding ceremony for a girl to lie down
and decay in.
C. Imagine all other possible scenarios:
The girl takes one piece, carries her hymen to
the top of a hill in the desert.
If we send anger and outrage to join her there,
if the desert sun scorches her up,
if the sun lends a currency back to us,
if the currency exchanges for justice,
if religion and justice are bargains on hot coals,
if hot coals are childlike feet running across
a country to a God they can swallow,
if the country was enough to keep her safe…
Think of a wall with water tirelessly seeping into it.
Think of the double sensation.
The hard softness.
Envision the eventual crumble, like a burdened womb
D. Answer the following questions:
If John the Baptist must come before Jesus,
what comes after marital rape and VVF?
What precedes the funeral of girlhood receding
faster than it arrives?
Why do men carve graveyards to bury their seeds
out of the bodies of little girls?
E. Craft a version of what the girl does next:
When the midwife hands the girl her daughter, she will
bathe her tears, run out and drown her in the river —
an understanding that water can be more forgiving
than men’s hands, than poverty pillaged by faith
than crime scenes that aren’t yet, but soon will be
her body too.
F. Breathing exercises:
Inhale. The girl wants to be nothing but wind,
nothing but what trees bow to,
Her pieces stay pieces after everything breaks.
Say you fracture your humanity, the cracks lead away from
the desert, a piece of you gets trapped in…
Repeat until calm enough to maybe live with yourself.
Precious Arinze is a Nigerian Poet, freelance writer and undergraduate student of Law at the University of Benin. She aspires to have a professional career that exclusively involves eating, someday. Her work has appeared in Mikrokosmos, Kalahari Review, Brittle paper, and is forthcoming elsewhere.