Strength of the Mangbetu Woman
by Claire Vogel Camargo



- Ekphrasis inspired by Anthropomorphic Harp photo

Mangbetu woman’s braided, elongated head
tilts skyward. She seeks the spirits above.
Face serene, the stem of her neck reveals strength,
adherence to responsibilities not habitually met
by the culture’s male members.

Upright spine of five vertebrae
supports five bounteous breasts
which feed Mangbetu man’s hunger,
as he plucks the sinewy strings
connecting to a hollow stomach.

Her body gracefully curves into his -
her womb his vessel from which to sip, create,
and make music. Strumming her bowed body,
he fires arrows of contentment.





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