The Nigerian Hierarchy
If I drove a Lexus instead of a Honda
Would you agree?
Would it be vice versa if
my skirt landed above the knee...
If I chose Dartmouth instead of Harvard
Would you cry?
If I find your son repulsive
would your ulterior motives die?
If I studied and still managed a D
would you flog me `til daybreak?
Don’t judge a fish on its ability
to fly...at least for God’s sake.
Would you give up on me
if I couldn’t afford imported lace?
If your son’s too good for me
would you spit in my face...
If I dyed my hair gree
would you disown me,
declare me a whore
or claim you never bore me?
If I ran off with an American
Is that still taboo?
Must silence hide my inferior grammar
Lest your worst nightmare be true...
If my sole friend was gay
would you readily invite them to play?
or maybe turn off the lights
...waiting for them to go away.
If I found out I was baron
would suicide be the glaring answer?
Would you consider me dead already?
Growing on you, like terminal cancer...
If I grew to be a back-alley doctor
would you, astonished, consider me accomplished?
If I sought divorce, marriage demolished...
would my gleaming social throne be abolished?
If I am the third of ten weather-beaten wives
would I, then, be more visible?
Or the fourth of six siblings...
Much like my busted lip, attention isn’t critical.
If my sisters are light and I am dark
Does the black sheep belong at the bottom of the lake?
If my epilepsy was a public eye soar
Plans to ship me to Nigeria, would you make?
Is my highest achievement as an wife
to hand you the remote?
To learn the art of masking bruises
and our perfect family promote?
Or is it my obligation as a mother
to stifle, pressure and smother
the creativity liberty of my future seeds?
Under my iron fist they scurry and shudder...
Forged from a generation of immigrants
I developed a brain so militant
They created a black hole; now we fill it
Sated by status symbols; fake smiles so brilliant
I’ll fill the Honda with gas
For all the fishes that could not fly
I won’t look back or cry.
And for all the creative, beating hearts refusing to die
I’ll take my pipe dreams
grab the paint brushes of the shelf
For the day I abandoned mindless tradition
I stopped being you
...and started being myself.