Have you already forgotten me? Am I now a long-buried symbol of your shame?
Will you still continue to fight for me? Am I a helpless pawn in your sick political game?
According to mama, I am destined to be called by not just a single name
I am Ada, Chidubem, OluwaKemi, Inibong, Chinonso, Aminat
On other days, I am Ene, Najite, Anulika, Depriye, Goundu, Zelifat
Today, I am just a lost little girl from Chibok, ordinary, no claim to fame
I am a mere number, one of two, three, four
A symbol of a my country’s deep, festering, rotten sore
I think of mama, Ah, but the innocence and gift of her face in my memory
My poor mother, how she must languish in anguish, and grieve in agony
At the horror of her little girl lost in strange places, amidst stranger faces
Will this nation of people I call family look away with apathy at her plight?
Will my homeland rise up for once and become her sister’s keeper?
As mama wails and her sense of helplessness goes deeper and deeper
Will this siddon dey look nation finally stand up for me and really fight the fight?
They attacked my School in Chibok, in the quiet dead of Night
They call themselves, soldiers! These ignorant Boko Haramites
I call them weak, cowardly dogs, with their tails tucked in flight!
They who stole the innocence of sleep and kidnapped my girlish dreams
Nary a pause in between, childhood to the cruelty of adulthood in a blink
Jolted and shaken up, I never got a chance to catch my breath and think!
Huddled up with my sisters, we pray, and for their sake, I try fervently to be brave
But on some days, I cannot hold back my tears, I am strangled by my darkest fears
Sometimes I taste the bile rise up, for my captors are sick in mind and depraved
I refuse to sleep and pray the days be blessed forever with morning light
I fear the nightmares and horror that come with the darkness of night.
Will they barter my sisters and I off for a few kobo, naira and cowrie beads?
Will we be mounted on auction blocks, lapped at lustfully, while they place their bids?
May the hands of heavens keep them from squeezing and sucking at my unformed breasts
May angels keep guard, that they not defile and invade my womb with their diseased erect heads
If you read this, please take a trip to Chibok and tell my weeping mother that I shall be back soon
Tell her nations of the world stood up and fought for us; man, woman, child, raised their voices
Tell her to wait for me under the shaded tree in the village square, I shall hug her tight as she rejoices
Do tell my mother that I will make it back home unharmed. Promise her that I shall see her tomorrow at noon!
© Juliet ‘Kego Ume-Onyido (All rights reserved).