Mum, What Did You Want?

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Siloma

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‘Ng’ombe’ and ‘Kwani wewe ni ng’ombe?’
Were the phrases that filled my ears
In my rogue childhood
I remember how you pinched my ears
When it was reported that I put the Tv on while you were away
And touched the heavy Sony remote
With my dirty hands from play
I remember how the remote would turn into a weapon of mass destruction
On my tiny head
I remember how the two everready batteries rolled down the wall unit
And I would struggle to trace them as you commanded
Ordering me not to cry or hiss

I remember how it was a crime to look sad or too happy
How it was a matter of life and death not to play or play too much
And how it was treason not to keep quiet or talk too much
I remember how bad it was to stare and also to look away
I remember how awful it was to greet strangers and also not to greet the elderly
Even if I never knew them
Seriously mum, What did you want?

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