It was a warm seemingly normal—in fact too normal—night I was born
Legend has it that the hospital street was devoid of movement that day
As if a secret had been passed around that a storm was coming that night

They said when the doctor pulled me out of my mother’s weak numb lips
He just shrugged and passed me onto the nurse by his side
Murmuring something along the lines of “to be honest, that’s a blessing these days”

They said my mother did not touch me for twenty-six days
Just glued her strong farmer hands to the metal rails on either side of the bed
And watched as the nursing mother next to her pitied me and fed me so I didn’t die

But then after the woman—I call her my first mother—after she left
I cried so loud and boldly that other women in the ward signed a petition to evict my ma
The doctors were pissed I heard; they couldn’t grant the public wish

You see, I was my pa’s ninth issue
Just probably his least important issue
And he had no currency with which to pay my ma’s birth bills

So, hospital management put my mother on lockdown
Said she wouldn’t see the outdoors until he or she paid the treatment fees
So of course, they beat her when she wouldn’t feed me

Nigerian doctors though, I don’t expect anything else
They weren’t going to set her free; but I also had to stop crying
So, one day she did it—

She reluctantly drew me to suck
And wrinkled up her nose saying, “I say it again: who’s going to marry her? No one”
Steady avoiding my legs between which there was no vagina

And whilst she has now forever left my life because she’d rather not stand the sight of me
I always wonder what society had done to my dear ma
To make her think the worst thing that could happen to a girl is if she couldn’t be owned by a man


by Akachi Obijiaku


Editor’s Note

To view this poem in its intended form of tercets, without line breaks interfering with the display, open a PDF of this poem in its own browser window by clicking here: Vagina by Akachi Obijiaku.

About the Author

Akachi Obijiaku.jpgAkachi Obijiaku is a new Nigerian poet, who started writing poetry in 2017. Her works are forthcoming or appearing in Cagibi, Typishly, Underscore Review, The Inquisitive Eater, Abstract Magazine, Meniscus Literary Journal, The Basil O’Flaherty, Rising Phoenix Review, Scarlet Leaf Review, and Sentinel Literary Quarterly. She emigrated to England four years ago and holds an MSc from King’s College London.

Appears In

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