A girl asks her mother what her father looked like.
The mother stared down at her own little portrait,
And marvelled at the crystals on her body.
Truly, everything made of black is beautiful.
But she knows better
Than to speak life into a forgotten scar.
Life makes things bleed.
We do not speak ill of the dead,
For like fire,
Death is another kind of redemption.
She remembered how she could not swim
When the wind capsized her boat.
She remembered how she was lame,
When her hope for survival was a frantic race.
She remembered how her body transformed
From an asylum into a tomb of dried bones,
Broken wills, shattered dreams, and rotten memories.
She remembered how her body was a cathedral
Of open wounds,
Because a man had lain with her
The way the devil mates, in blood and bruises.
She remembered how she was left in the woods
To fight the terrors of darkness and the mysteries of light.
How she had to carry her shadow,
And the weight of the world on a broken arm.
But she would not shatter a little girl’s happiness
With a quake of her own trauma.
Because one day, the girl will grow into a woman
And realize that behind every untold story
Are ugly ghosts, torn graves and broken vases.
Michael Ace is a writer from Ibadan, Nigeria. His works have appeared on Praxis Magazine, Kalahari Review, AFAS Review, African Writer, Wildsound Review, Agbowo & elsewhere. He is the founder of ACEworld (Publishers & Magazine). He believes in his watchword: the world is too complex for a pen to remain idle.