Girl, African

She walks in with a parcel
of stuffed fish-heads and yams
and begins washing up while they warm
and casually sucks one of the eyes
while I open the wine and watch her
take off the trainers that make her limp.

Her smile pretends to like my music
and there’s the usual bedroom struggle
to remove her clothes
until she clamps my wrist
and I notice the rag around her waist
which, she has said, she wears for fasting
and she still hasn’t spoken a word.

I remind her that last month
it was the blood that had stopped her
because it was against her beliefs
and now it’s more religion, and will it,
I ask, be a headache next time.

She dresses swiftly,
her Nefertiti head upright and still,
and with a flat-vowelled finality
suggests I write a poem about it,
and soundlessly leaves the house.