POEM Ode to African Women


By Chimaroke Nnamani

Oyoyo Nnem

Nne Oma

A mother’s love who can find?

A mother after cooking is satiated by the aroma!

A mother with pangs of hunger still breastfeeds!

A mother during the fever nights stays awake rubbing “Enu aku”?

A mother sings daily night of dirges!!

 I still remember in my ears my mother’s “ima evu” when the late Chike Obodo (Ugo’s dad) was conscripted for war!!

 I still remember my mother Elizabeth bringing strangers to serve lunch and water!

I still remember the babies, including Nwakonam ( Okpogu’s sister) that were brought daily when we stayed over in the village. How she overfed them!!

 I remember my grandma Abigail mashing together leftover akpu foofoo with days old ewa soup defying hygiene.

I watched with palpable fear as she put the concoction together.

Coming down hungry as a medical intern, I ate for her love.

She watched, serenaded me, and her Adam’s apple moved in synchrony with every morsel I swallowed.

It was only after a full stomach on my way back to Enugu that I will remember with trepidation the hygiene havoc wrecked.

But grandma Abigail’s love prevailed!

I remember my grandma Abigail who never smiled, her face etched with lines of life’s trauma and concatenation

Each line of wrinkle representing the vagaries of African harsh motherhood.

All the trajectory of folds and crevices on her face melting in eternal bliss and ethereal smile as she received the Methodist Church Ezinne Award.

First time I saw Mama Abigail Owoeji Nnamani smile in public.

 As a gynecologist/ obstetrician and maternal fetal medicine specialist, she made a living taking care of worried women, a brother of great sisters, as a father of many princesses and husbands (though not too successful at that) issues of women mark my world.

 Their story is mine to own and elicits more emotion from me than any other.

Ma, k’ odiba.

 Chimaroke Nnamani is the Senator representing Enugu East and former governor,  Enugu State.

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