This house is an African house.
This your body is an African woman’s body.
This your vagina is an African woman’s vagina.
All three, you keep clean, you hear?
Otherwise I will wash you out
with bleach, scrub between your legs
with a scouring pad, then I will take your body
and clean the house with it.
At eleven years old I didn’t want a woman’s body.
I was sure my friends didn’t have vaginas
and I wanted to be just like them.
They weren’t from Africa either.
~ Kadija Sesay
Kadija Sesay is an award-winning literary activist and cultural nomad. She’s the publisher of SABLE LitMag, and edits anthologies of writers of African and Asian descent. Her poetry collection ‘Irki’ was shortlisted for the Glenna Luschei Prize (2014). Her forthcoming poetry collection is ‘The Modern Pan Africanist’s Journey’ for which she has created an app. She is a scholarship PhD candidate at the University of Brighton, researching Independent Black Publishers in the UK.
Editor’s note: ‘This House is an African House’ was first published in ‘Irki’ (Peepal Tree Press, 2013) and appears here with kind permission from the poet and the publisher.