Babies, Bikinis, Burqas

Babies, Bikinis, Burqas.

tell them how they silenced us
how you screamed till you had no strength
and how you didn’t bother to scream
because your strength left you the moment they pushed you

tell them how you die everyday
living with the tales of how they killed your strength

let me tell them of Mercy
who cried for mercy when her uncle held her against her will

or the tales of three years old baby Amaka
who will never hold a baby in her womb
because a forty-five years old man ripped her of her innocence

or twenty-two years old Uwa
who will never dream again
whose hope was ripped apart till she could no longer breathe

or eighteen years old Barakat
whose hope was shattered before dawn

these are not fictions
they are the frictions caused in our lives

my heart is heavy
how do you breathe?
when mothers cover the eyes of their dead daughters
when fathers dig the graves of their dead daughters

how do you breathe?
when girls’ bodies are maps of injustice
when they cannot breathe

Babies, Bikinis, Burqas
no one is safe from this beast that prey
not age, not dressing, not religion
no one

Babies, Bikinis, Burqas, Beasts
this is not a play on word
this is speaking against the play of power

how do you breathe?
they killed a girl again yesterday again

Babies, Bikinis, Burqas
I am screaming
can you hear me?
I can’t breathe!
this too is a pandemic!

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