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What Mama Didn’t Tell Me: A feminist poem exploring the ‘inherited’ plight of women thro


‘Forbidden Fruit picker’ (2015) by Wangechi Mutu

Mama, you never told me of the animals;

sheltered under hot metal roofs, they speed past,

their calls splinter fresh burnished skin.

I, who believed the world was mine, saw I was nothing more

than its tall-legged furnishing.

Mama, you never told me of the night-creatures;

with waves of Pims and fruit punch, they drown us.

Hand on thigh, they part shores, drain seas

and shush me to silence.

Mama, you never told me

that a man’s chest is not a drum – fists make muted thuds.

I had to learn to make my own music with a cotton-tipped tongue;

learn to spin gold from dark tales unsung;

learn to find victories in battles not won.

It wasn’t easy.

Mama, you said I had to ‘kill them with kindness’.

Instead I, a serpent-tongued Lilith, spit venom at Eve

and mouth pleasures she could never conceive in her submission.

And I vow to eternally resist that inherited condition.

Mama, you didn’t tell me.

Was it because you thought I had to learn it?

To have it etched into my skin, so I could read it and burn it?

If that’s the case, then this lesson – I’ve heard it.

And I write our story anew and reword it

cause we’ve earned it.

#feminism #art #motherhood #WangechiMutu #GardenofEden #newwriting #creativewriting #poetry #sexism #sexualassault #womanhood #empowerment #Lilith #sexualharassment

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