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The Wife of Bafa - Poem


My name is Mrs Alice Ebi Bafa.
I come from Nigeria.
I'm very fine, isn't it.
My next birthday I'll be…twenty-nine.
I'm business woman.
Would you like to buy some cloth?
I've all the latest styles from Lagos,
Italian shoe and handbag to match,
lace, linen and Dutch wax.
I only buy the best
and I travel first class.

Some say I have blood on my hands
'cause I like to paint my nails red
but others call me femme fatale.
My father had four wives
so I've had five husbands.
I cast a spell with my gap-toothed smile
and my bottom power.
Three were good and two were bad.

The first three were old and rich
and I was young and fit.
They died of exhaustion.
The fourth one was ladies' man.
I could not count his women on one hand
but he'd rage if I looked at another man.
I was very wild when I was young.
They called me Miss Highlife,
I was not considered a good wife
but I always respected my husband.
He died when I returned from this London.

 The fifth one I married for love.
He was studying law at University of Ibadon.
He was not yet twenty-one,
wicked in bed and so handsome
but he liked pornographic magazine.
His favourite was Playboy.
One day I threw it on fire
to teach him a lesson.
He turned into wife batterer.
He was to regret his action.
I beat him till be begged for his ancestors.
Now we get on like house on fire.

 Some say I'm a witchcraft
'cause I did not bear them children.
They do not understand your Western medicine.

 You like my headtie.
It's the latest fashion.
They sell like hot cake on Victoria Island.
Fifty pounds.
I give you discount 'cause I like your smile.
The quality is very good.
If I take off more I will not make profit
and I travel to Lagos next week.
Make it my lucky day.
Please, I beg you.


© Patience Agbabi


Read more: The Wife of Bafa - Analysis

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