This poem was originally posted on World Pulse, a media network powered by women from 190 countries that lifts and unites women’s voices to accelerate their impact for the world. World Pulse is a member of Girls Not Brides: The Global Partnership to End Child Marriage.
At 12, She wakes up at dawn to fetch and clean;
Before she struggles to prepare the family meal.
At 12, Her tender back is bent from the load she struggles with;
A weight heavier than her, but she carries it still.
At 12, Her hands are chafed from scraping the char off the pot;
The black coal more natural on her, she bothers not to wash.
At 12, Her worry lines are deeply etched in;
The trials and pains her mother bore are now her cross to carry.
At 12, She has already felt the harsh blow of her husbands’ fist;
As she continually fails in her service to him.
At 12, Her feet are used to the sun burnt path to the water hole;
As to it she trudges day and night in duty to provide for her family.
At 12, Her waist has carried the burden of life;
And she loses more of her essence with each strife.
At 12, My mother carries me in her womb;
And I wonder at my fate as a girl coming into her world.