They say when depression
Signatures the brain
It means something from hell has watermarked perception
They take her to the sanctuary,
Where there are bells to deafen the voices echoing in her head.
Rosary on the neck, holy water sprinkled
For Satan to slip and fall.
She is murmuring & speaking of lost times
Her eyes are twitching in wonder, calling out every secret
Said her sister’s husband struggled to kiss her womanhood
Said her other sister’s body is restitution for lost men –
Always turning fetuses into blood.
They need her to shut up so they spiral into unknown tongues
Flog fear into her till she wails as a sign of answered prayers,
Decade’s later she is found picking dirt off the streets –
Sucking on rotten fruit, she is more silent now
The sisters drive by after sermon to throw her a loaf
In this place, therapy means giving a dime
To a stranger who shouldn’t give a damn about your business
Better she sleeps facing the clouds
Than wear a hospital robe – for something so metaphysical
Roseline Mgbodichinma is a Nigerian writer whose works have appeared or are forthcoming in The African writer Magazine, West Trestle Review, X-ray lit mag, JFA human rights mag, Artmosterrific & elsewhere. In 2018, she won the audience’s favourite award powered by Union Bank and Okadabooks for her short story, Silence that spoke. Her poem, The Giant, was published in the Poets in Nigeria (PIN) 2019 Anthology, You can reach her on her blog at www.mgbodichi.com and Twitter @Rmgbodichinma.