Peace in a Time of War

Photograph by Ayo Akinyemi, from the series Eripa.

They say
mother and father
named me Peace
because they conceived me
in the midst of turmoil

They say
guns boomed
as midwives slapped mother’s thighs
told her to quit being lazy
and p-u-s-h, p-u-s-h, p-u-s-h
what was she thinking
when she swallowed the prick whole?

They say
the scent of death was all over the hospital yard
but mother, she was more angry than terrified
she cursed the midwives
and cursed father too for being
that bastard who put her through
this agony – a third time.

They say
the midwives, they laughed so hard
they told her
to shut the hell up
and p-u-s-h, p-u-s-h, p-u-s-h

They say
that day, father’s head was
nearly blown off
by soldiers enforcing the curfew
but he spoke their language
and bought them bottles and bottles
of Guineas at Dallas Bar

As they say,
father showed up eventually
at the dead of night
escorted by his new soldier friends
smelling like vomit
and singing gibberish.
They woke mother and I

And they say
that night,
the same hands that pointed
Kalashnikovs at the pussies of
women on the streets
are the same that rocked me
back to sleep.

Nancy Henaku

Nancy Henaku is originally from Ghana but currently, she lives in Houghton, MI where she is studying for a doctoral degree in Rhetoric, Theory and Culture (RTC) at Michigan Technological University. Nancy writes mostly poetry and has been severally featured on the weekly radio program of the Writer's Project of Ghana.

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