This Too is Domestic Violence

Poetry by bhurbx D dzinam

What my mind thinks of is not comforting enough.

Not comforting enough—I repeat.

My home is the most beautiful and serene from afar but from within, it’s a haunted home.

Haunted of immediate demons! Fresh bouncing demons! Blood lurking demons!

Demons that are birthed every morning by the very hands of all the medics in my home.

I’m still contending with the idea of calling it a home because for the most part, it’s just a painted shelter—

unworthy of the name “home”.

My mother thinks silence solves everything, so often, silence is her default,

silence that is deafening—making my soul grovel, and wish death upon itself.

My mother finds solace in not talking to me. (Does she not?)

She’s not doing me a favor. She’s stifling her love for me.

My father thinks I’m mundane with my thoughts and judgments. But I wish he could live in my head for a day—so he could know the games I play & the other world his ‘home’ has forced me to create.

He once loved me but not anymore. He loves someone else now—

not my mother.

Not my sisters.

Someone else.

I hear it in his – Good morning

I hear it in his – Is anything wrong with you?
I hear it in his – Why are you always gloomy? as if someone is

annoying you in this house.

I become happy when he calls it a house instead of a home—

But,

I forgive him

(What of my mother?)

I DO NOT!

(will I?)

MAYBE.

Dear mother,
I do not mean to call you “dear” but it is the ideal thing to do.

So, hello mother. It’s me, one of your small girls (how you address me

to people) Do you remember how you always say okay to whatever I say? Do you even know?

Do you remember your oh okay responses to repeated statements or requests?

Do you remember how you ask how are you as if you’ve been forced to ask me every morning? Indicating clearly that you won’t care if I say something other than I’m fine. Anyway, your “how are yous” sound like statements than questions of concern—did you know?

Do you remember how you tell me to leave the kitchen because you don’t see my relevance in being there with you? (All though I’m there because I want to learn how to cook like you, mother.)

Do you remember how you talk ill of me to my father? (Telling him how you think I have mental and social disorders for not talking with my cousins when they come around.)

Do you remember—how you saw me crying yet didn’t ask what was wrong with me?

Do you remember how you didn’t ask me how school was when I finally completed my degree? Do you remember how you made me look stupid in front of my colleagues whom I said good things about you to?

Do you remember all these?

These memories, I have kept with me. They haunt me every night.

Making me question if you are really the mother my father preaches you are?

These memories I think of and cry every night. Do you remember how you told your sisters—I’ll deal with them! (Referring to us, your family?)

Do you remember how you’ve made my father fear you?

Mother, dear—you act so beautifully, I wonder why you aren’t a Nollywood actress)

Do you know how long these have lodged in my heart? Do you even care to know?

Do you know how many times, I’ve convinced myself that it’s well?

But, you should know,

Although;

You—don’t talk; don’t starve me; don’t talk ill to me; don’t scold me; don’t sack me from my father’s house; don’t deny me the privileges of a daughter to my father; don’t reprimand me in any form or way—don’t exhibit anger, neither violence nor aggression towards me.

You always hurt me. You always do. The thought of your presence in the house is enough to

make me whimper in pain and agony. Your actual presence makes me shriek within because I

know no happiness & this place, this house isn’t homy enough.

So now, (will I forgive you)

NO!

(why?)

because;

I can swear that nothing I say will make you the caring mother I need you to be—like a mother should.

You should know; that this too, is domestic violence.

Bio
Barbarah is a midwife, book aficanado and art critic. she answers to the sobriquet “inyellowandgray” and writes as bhurbx D dzinam.

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Tampered press started out as a conversation on creating more platform and visibility for writers and visual artists in Ghana and Africa. While blackness has become more noticeable now than in the past, and more space is gradually being created at the table 

black as an identity is heavily nuanced and has to be dissected and carefully documented. African artists in particular have fewer platforms. Our experiences, mannerisms and culture often have similarities, but our style, design, creation and content are different.