» Poetry

Things You Left in Accra before Moving to the Bronx

Grandma and her weak leg,

your sister at 18, still with one good iris,


your mother’s British jewelry hidden under the bed,

the places in the carpet you soiled with urine,


all the red dust,


your seat at Calvary Methodist Church next to Marie

who’d always chat with you when someone talked

about Jesus and his power to bring you all the things you needed,


your gymnastic booty shorts (your mother sent

them from America because the heat in Accra overwhelmed

you but you still wish you’d saved some for America’s winters),


warm Tea Bread sold at the YMCA between 6:30 am and 7:30 am,

the scent of air conditioning and ice cream at the SHELL gas station,


Grandma with her good English,


Mercedes and Pamela, your neighbors who borrowed everything from salt to ladles,


Asaana, Yooyi, Aluguntuguin, Nkontomire,

Living Bitters, Mercy Cream, Lion’s Ointment &


a Saturday listening to wind turn on pawpaw leaves.


Afua Ansong

Afua Ansong is scholar and artist, currently working on a collection of poems about Adrinkra symbols from Ghana, interacting with these symbols as modes of grief and artistic freedom. Her work can be seen or is forthcoming in The Common, Prairie Schooner, Frontier, and on her website afuansong.com.