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I am not African

We need new names.

I am that Odum wood
the carpenter saws
for Darling’s bed.

See that Jacaranda popping

petals of lavender and grace?
I am that green branch
bending the back of a butterfly

asking, asking

if the skies have shaken
hands for rain to fall,
and grass to sprout.

I have only known the red sand
behind my grandmother’s garden,

the silver dove sitting under the moon.

If Mercy

I often see a man
like Moses on my street.
He carries a crooked
stick. His beard is oiled
with the scent of blood
and his feet are covered
with leprosy.

They say he is mad,
speaks in Tongues
men fear to translate.

But I hear him,
the cadence of his words.
He asks, Are you there, God?
Am I here again to save?




Afua Ansong is a Ghanaian American artist who writes poetry and teaches contemporary and traditional West African dance. A 2015 BRIO (Bronx Recognizes its Own) recipient, Afua writes about the challenges of the African immigrant in the United States, exploring themes of transition, citizenship, and identity. She is currently a student at Stony Brook Southampton’s MFA program working on several projects about the migration of humans and birds. Earlier this year, Afua received the 2nd runner-up prize for the FOLIO 2016 Poetry Contest, judged by Jericho Brown. Afua’s work has been read or performed at the 2016 PEN World Voices Festival, the Bronx Book Fair, Emotive Fruition, and Poetry Street. Her work can be seen at FOLIO, TAB and on her blog:

Featured image courtesy of Sergey Pesterev.