Stay by Henrietta Enam Quarshie
You rinsed out my name from your mouth —
I did not ask that my name brings to mind the filthiest
river in my father’s village.
Chests and tongues were beaten
and bitten that morning.
But surely every child must have a ceremony to name it
or name a ceremony.
They whispered “this one too will join the others soon
”Mother implored “stay
”Seasons have cycled.
My name balances at the tip of Mother’s tongue.
A prayer unsaid to a god unknown.
May death be repulsed when the wind’s wings carry my name to its ears.
When I utter my name, it is in prayer.
I hold in reverence hope that life stays.
© 2020. Henrietta Enam Quarshie. All rights reserved. Reproduction or transmission of this work in any part or form is strictly prohibited without the author’s prior written consent.
About the author
Henrietta Enam Quarshie is currently a medical student at the University of Health and Allied Science. She comes from the Volta region of Ghana where she lives in its capital, Ho. She has been published by Praxis magazine, Tampered Press and in anthologies: To grow in two bodies and The Big Yellow Post. She writes micro poetry on Instagram under the pseudonym Poetbyimpulse. Twitter handle @HenriettaEnam
African Global Networks (AGN) – August 2020