steaming pot
Photo by Mihai Lazăr on Unsplash

Ochokobila by Afiah Obenewaa

They say I must wake up early to fetch your bathing water.

They even added that I make sure it is not biting cold.

I must even stay to carry away your water pot after bathing.

All this I did and more.

I licked the water off your back.

I smeared scented shea butter across your scarred ridges.

I ensured the leathery wrinkled folds around your groin glistened with moisture

I was told to quench your sexual desires

And not pay attention to how my own body works.

I exceeded their expectations

Every night I slept across the urine-soaked straw mat

Eagle-spread, as I awaited your empty thrusts

and feigned moans to match your assertions of masculinity.

All this I did

All these I sacrificed.

Now they accuse me of your death

Tomorrow I must prove my innocence before the Council of Elders

My mothers say I hasten the process

So we can bury you next market day

And I will be off to serve my sentence with the river goddess.

I am not the first

I won’t be the last.

I wear a knowing smile

I know how exactly you died

I know how sharp and well-aimed my incantations were.

I know


Afiah Obenewaa writes: I am Afiah Obenewaa, a writer living and working in Accra-Ghana. I am particularly interested in works that feature "everyday ordinary people". I believe they are the real creators of magic. Some of my works have appeared in online journals like The Mamba, ActiveMuse, and Hakari.

Author's note

In the poem "Ochokobila", there is evidence of the influence of African mythology. It is a term mostly used among the Ga people of Accra-Ghana. It is a negative term normally used for people who are ostracized because of a repugnant attitude or behaviour. This ideology is drawn upon to depict the uneven relations between man and woman. The poem goes on to show the woman’s disdain for the man because of what he represents—patriarchal power.