We Want People!

Its hot as hell. The days merge into one shimmering hot day after another. Hades was not this hot. The heat saps your strength and dulls your mind. A cotton wrap is the only suitable attire. I walk around the old homestead with my wrapper threatening to fall off. I never did learn how to tie one securely.  And I won’t tie it tight around my chest. I worry that it will flatten my already sagging breasts.

A child crawls on her hands and knees, dragging her legs behind her. Her father says it is some curse on the woman that reincarnated her. They have dug up the poor woman twice already and still the child does not walk.

“They did not do the ritual well. We will do it again” he reassures me.

Poor woman. If she had known that her reincarnation would bring such distress to her corporeal remains would she have come back?

“You are the reincarnation of Nwa’Anu, Aga’ekwe’s beloved sister” they told me.

Nwa’Anu died childless. The elders nodded wisely when I got pregnant at 15.

“She is in a hurry to have children in this lifetime” they had said sagely to my disappointed father.

We never talked about it, me and him. We never talked about why. He never asked and I had no word to explain to him the torment that sent me running into a lovers arms before I was old enough to know what love is.

On hot days like this there is nothing to do but sit under a tree and wait for the sun to go down. Then after a brief respite it is time to go to bed. Unless the moon is out and the natives stay out a couple hours longer in its cool illumination.

I sit under the big udara tree that my great grand father planted. In its shade I feel him near.

“Talk to me!” I demand of him roughly but there is only silence. Can I no longer hear the voices of the dead?

“Agwubuo lei! You must talk to me! You must tell me what I must do because I no longer know.”

My brothers are happy to see me.

“I always wished you were a man.” Ebere says to me. Its meant to be a compliment.

“I am Agwubuo’s mother” I reply and surprise myself.

Where did that come from? Why do the words ring true? My feelings towards them are motherly, tender, nurturing.

“Yes, you are. You are our mother.”

The mother that saved Agwubuo from his enemies. The mother that fortified the son to prevail against his enemies. The mother that protected her sons inheritance, his lineage and his dynasty.

Agwubuo the only son of his father and the father of a multitude. The multitude squabble and fight.

“It is better to have many descendants that squabble than to have no descendants to remember your name and your sacrifice for them.”

The multitude is in need of a mother.

Bahia 2008 Copyright Lesley Agams
Bahia 2008 Copyright Lesley Agams

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