How to Kill a Man

You’re a damaged soul. A shoe that’s walked a thousand continents with the heart beat of a dying man. I had never seen a man die before, never seen a man disintegrate so beautifully into fairy dust and gun powder. Exploding. Leaving huge craters in every home you went.

Your wars were fought with tongues and in tongues no one seemed to understand. You built your weapons out of baobab tree leaves and named them death. You carved your woman’s name in the temple of your heart and called it re-birth. But you were never re-born. Never resurrected from the dying flames of hatred. You lingered there, soaked yourself in bitterness and came out smelling like the under-world. And yet you have the audacity to hold me. To call to me at three in the morning like a nightmare come to nest. To tell me that the war in your head is over and yet your wives and children are still nursing the bruises on their backs. Have we moved battle fields now? Must I hide my children and teach them to pray to the gods of innocence? Must I teach them how to hold a knife? How to inflict enough damage to the vessel and disarm it?

Last night we chose to be murderer’s, we listed down names of every man we knew who had offered to paint the gospel in the meeting of our legs but had instead left us with the revelation of a bitter taste and a stammer in the back of our throats.

Your son walked in on us building machetes out of paper plates and bombs out of cotton buds. Your mother held out her hands to him, craddled and sang him to sleep. “This is how you kill a man” she said, “not with a bang, but with a whisper. With songs and meaningless prayers that never leave our ceilings. Never get to heaven. But you pray. For you. And your children. That your sons will become their mother’s children, their mother’s men. Men after a woman’s heart.”

I wrote this at a time in my life where abuse became a real thing for me and for some of the people around me. It was also inspired by how I found out that women in my family that get married are not told to run or fight when attacked by their partners. Rather they are told how to stay and survive the beatings. How to hold on and call upon The Lord. Personally, I always say should my partner ever lay hands on me, I will set him on fire as he sleeps.

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