art by Ortega Missouri

In a village, a baby was born.
With a rib stuck to her throat:
a golden scepter to choose a prince.

Akuko Ifo gave her a name,
with a fairytale ending blending into royalty.

A village eaten by ribbed men with a missing rib;
but with just a rib she drew landmarks,
cutting down trees with silent words in her Eze’s throat.
Humble in pride, she winnows her will.

She’s Lolo.
Eze’s name clinging to hers because her blood blindfolded him.
She tells him, “Obim, I feel hot”. And he brings a fan.
A fan that blows his crown into her hands.

When her licensed scepter speaks silently, then we hear him growling,
Oya, send him out of here!”; then someone dies.
But the Lolo still sits quietly like the queen she is.
They don’t see her, so they only ask, “Where is the King?”.

With tiny beads on her tiny waist and a dignified ring,
she rubs her palms on her husband’s sweaty face
and asks him to scream, “Igbo Kwenu!”.

“Yah!”, comes the response;
with no idea that the “invisible” Lolo
dominates the Eze’s crown.