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Read Time:2 Minute, 24 Second
By Toni Kan


My sister pulls off her gown and there is a swim suit underneath

She tosses aside her shoes and takes off on a light trot

He gives chase and I know what will happen:

They will find a shed

They will pay

They will pull the door shut

He will undress her slow-ly

Then they will do it

And late at night while father snores next door

My sister will tell me how they did it

How he raised her legs, his hands cupping a butt cheek

How she gave him back, made him beg for more

I would lie there in the dark, clenching fifteen years old


My head buzzing, like Rihana, with wild thoughts


I sit in the sand, legs folded beneath me

My sister is gone, they have found a shed

They are doing it

So, I read my Mills and Boon

She is svelte and blond

He has jet black hair and blue eyes

“What are you reading?”

He is black and fat and his eyes bulge

“Good afternoon, Uncle,” I greet in answer

He takes the novel from my hand

He turns it around, he reads the blurb

“Hmm, looks like a love story.”

1 take it as he hands it over

I turn the pages, I keep reading



A shadow falls over me

“What were you telling my husband?

I snap the pages shut

I am flushed from reading a sex scene

I look up and she stands scowling

“Nothing, Auntie,” I say but it is the wrong answe

Her slap knocks me flat and I taste sand

Then she pounces. The first punch blinds me

“Ashewo, leave my husband alone!”

I feel my top rip and she is dragging me up

My breasts are bared to the world

That is when her husband drags her away but it is done

 I have been shamed for what I did not do

And I am crying when my sister returns


“Na wetin happen?” She asks, fangs out

She is Wolverine ready to kill

I tell her, quickly, heaving, sobs wracking me

She says “pele” then lies flat on the sand

I watch her, eyes closed and I wonder

Is that all she will do, say pele and play ostrich?

Time passes, my sister is still as I sniffle

Then my sister springs up suddenly

My sister takes her by surprise

Sand in hand my sister blinds her

Then the blows land and land

Her dress rips, her breasts pop open

My sister is Medusa, hair hissing venom

“Oya make we go” she says as I burst with pride


Excerpted from the collection: Songs for Bar Beach: A Memorial in Verse, by Toni Kan, published in 2022 by RADI8


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