My daughter wants to be a painter and I am heartbroken!
She came to me this morning holding her first painting with the biggest smile on her face.
It was a painting of our house and people made out of sticks.
The three-stick people were mum, dad and her. I could not have been prouder.
This morning she led me down to her room to see her latest paintings,
She said that she was doing self-portraits,
When I looked at the paintings I could not see her in them,
The lady she had painted had long hair, bright as the maize fields in harvest season,
Her nose was long, her lips were thin and as red as blood,
Her face was as light as the cardamom seed.
There were more paintings of the same lady but she could not have been my daughter.
I took a brush and dipped it in paint, the shade of dark ebony and painted back my little girl,
I gave her my nose, the same nose her father had fallen in love with, a nose like a ridge with two dark caves,
I gave her his lips, the same lips I had fallen so tenderly and deeply in love with,
I gave her my hair, thick as the Mau forest, long as the Nile and dark as the night.
MY DAUGHTER’S INNOCENCE
In this erotic inferno, I set myself ablaze. I turn the heat to maximum and hope for the best:
the best I can get from you before you take everything from me. I wait for the pain or the pleasure but it never comes. I then turn my shaking hands to your throat and choke you. You roll your eyes and turn blue. I keep pressing my fingers till I can feel every bone in your neck singing the song I have longed to hear: ‘Kill me now’ is the whole song. I dance with obscene movements to it as I make one last tight grip. Just then, you slip through my fingers like a shadow in the night. I wake up to the sound of your breath and your arousal on my back. I note down on the notebook I hide under the mattress,1200. A tally of the number of times I have killed you or is it the number of times you have escaped my wrath, if only in my dreams. I wake up, dress my little girl and take her to school. I shower her with a different kind of love. I kiss her lips with genuine tenderness hoping she can tell the difference. I touch her soft skin gently as I look into her eyes. I see the pain in her soul. Oh, how I long to tell her that I am sorry but no, I let her go to school with the much I could give. I come back to you, with a smiley sticker on my face. I call you all the sweet names you want but I bite my knuckle. I will get you. One day, I will have the courage to make you pay for my daughter’s innocence.
Poems © Wambui Kigamba
Photo by h heyerlein on Unsplash