& in Togo, Was there Class Tension?

I do not work as these ladies do. 1793870

My body is indolent.

I should lift things,

Sash things,


Should have a child on my back.

A basket on my head.

When I leave my book

to make more coco, I wash

a dish in the sink, I waste

the soap.

Modesta catches me.

“I will do it,” she says.

“You are like your Mama, the American woman!

Everything, you want to do it, yourself”

She takes the soapy dish

from my hand.

She is laughing, but is it real?

Am I proud now, for washing one dish?

Modesta scrubs shirts

in a metal bowl for hours.

I tried it once.

Even Mama can’t bend like that

for long.

She’s right, about Mama.

Who works hard in an office to make

American money to send me to school

but would like to have her houseL

to herself.

I don’t like

any of this. I like the men

who clap for a girl

to bring palm wine. The men

who discuss

Books. I like them.

They carry nothing

on their heads.