Prose Poetry: Chidera And Her Many Smiles of Pain

I wrote this prose poetry to highlight the typical plights of women and girls that I often hear and read about on the news. This poem is not a reflection of my experiences or anyone in my family.


We don’t speak about our bodies because it is indecent

I don’t know much about it so Uncle decided to teach me one day..

I’m not sure how I feel as his hands rummage round my body

I told Auntie and she called me foolish

It must have been my fault

Maybe, something I wore. Maybe, something I said..

How foolish I am.

I hold this secret in me even in my husband’s house.


This my husband is a wonderful man, they tell me.

When we are out, Oche treats me like a queen.

He holds my hand and showers me with compliments

Everyone looks at us in admiration

They tell me how lucky I am

But inside my house, they don’t know I tremble

He grabs me and throws me on the bed

You’re a stupid woman he says, as he slaps me

Don’t disrespect me in public he screams as I lay there in tears

I called the elders and they told me that marriage is a sacrifice

I have to stay for the children

I have to stay because of the eyes on me

I will carry this burden and be by his side.

But I remember the days, when I was on my own…


As a young girl, I thought I was so sexy..

But that is a bad word, I was told

I saw my body as amazing

Look at these fine long legs…

But they say, my skirt is too short..

I am very fit so I give you a peek

But they say a girl’s stomach is not meant to be seen..

They call me an attention-seeker and much worse

But I don’t do it for anyone’s eyes.

I just quite like the way I look

But they hiss and roll their eyes whenever I walk by

I decide to cover up everywhere

I love my body but it is not meant to be shown

That is when I started to hide myself.

To quiet my own thoughts..

But wait, no, I think it goes back further..

Further, when I started learning things..


I learned all about how to be a woman from everyone else

Grandma says to sit up straight and cross my legs like a lady

In class, I keep quiet because Emma says girls shouldn’t talk too much

But I study hard and get the best grades

I told Daddy I want another degree. That I want to rise to the top.

But they say, I should be calm. First, marry early and that’s the prestige…

But you already know how that story goes..

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Isioma Ononye

I'm a blogger, freelance writer and news enthusiast. I'm passionate about personal development and I'm a book lover. AIso, I care deeply about feminism. My bliss is found in words that move me, nature and chasing my dreams.

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