I’m a child and not a bride, but Last month you made me marry you. You know it wasn’t love that made me say yes But the fear of what shape my death could take If I were to turn you down. Of course I had no voice. I could only muse to myself In the dark closet and imagine myself A mother at thirteen: would it be awesome? Would it be dreadful? Would it…? I died of anxiety.
Last month you made me marry you. I had no time to discover me for myself: Who I was, what I was, what I wanted to be; I had no time to think before I had to say yes. But it pains my bones to the marrow. I am an unripe fruit for the eating. I am a piece for the show-glass.
Last month you made me marry you. I spent nights upon nights weeping over how you’ve Broken me; how you’ve set my life ablaze Like a forest in a wildfire; And now the once-upon-a-time sweet sounding music Of my soul is burnt into silence. I have forgotten the dialect of my soul. I hush. I hush. I hush. I hush. I hush. You have beaten silence into me, And now I have to prepare to moan and wail Beneath your weight, while I watch you helplessly As you bite into my innocence, As you suckle the un-ripeness out of me, As you dig into my childhood and pleasure yourself In the childhood screams you hear from me. But it isn’t the fun that makes me scream. It is the bitter pain of knowing, of remembering That my life ended at thirteen:
Broken like a fallen calabash In the hands of a fifty-five year old man.
2013, in Nigeria, a 55-year old Senator married a 13-year old girl. The #ChildNotBride campaign against the senator's decision was born.