Image by Dimitris Vetsikas from Pixabay

ROADSIDE NEEM TREES

my neighbor’s wife left him this morning
we begged her as my people do: stay
marriage is an act of worship. a wife
has no right to grumble or worse, run
away or seek divorce. be patient. stay
if not for anything, your children need
their mother. remain and give them one
she sat silent for a while, & when she spoke
her words became ice bricks on our hearts
her voice broke the clay jars of our pleas
she said—i rather have them grow motherless
than with a sad woman living with a husband
she stabs every night in her sleep.
my sister once told me that in this place
women are thirsty travelers walking
in the middle of a painted river—they will
not drown & their throats will see no water
i have been thinking about my mother since
morning—how she survived a marriage
of decades, hunger & worn wrappers
all without hearing any “I love you, darling”
among my people, women are properties
women are roadside neem trees that grow
all by themselves to grant travelers shelter



SAI Sabouke is a made-by-Nigeria poet living in New Bussa, Nigeria. He holds a BA in English from the Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto. He finds Sufism, History and Language as fascinating tools for man and society regeneration. His writing has appeared in Dugwe: Online Journal of Abuja Writers Forum, Synchronized Chaos Magazine, Peacock Journal, African Writer and elsewhere.

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