Xujo xujo.

He dared me to climb the mahogany tree outside my gran’s red brick.

Xujo fur.

I accepted every challenge, every dare, every trick.

He went first. I followed.
He looked down. I fell.
He laughed. I cried.
He left. I kept on crying.

She came running,
Ayeeyo Xaliimo Jiisow.
Grandma Halima.

My left elbow dislocated, she grabbed me from above.
Her home remedy was hot oil with a touch of tough love.

She yanked my twisted arm into place.
She warned me to not race.
You’re a gabar, girl, know your place.
You’ll bring me shame and disgrace.

Ayeeyo Xaliimo was not short on cures just like her advice.
She met my yellowing eyes with a hot miswak and twice,
She branded my wrists and above my small toes, it burnt.
Ayeeyo Xaliimo unthreaded my cut clitoris, that too burnt.

Shuush, she said, the boys will hear.
She meant my brothers.

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