“Don’t You Go” by Anointing Obuh

Anointing Obuh


My mother is a tree, dried up by the Harmattan wind 
that blows through our family.
She sways, making the dust leap into the air like dancing figurines,
angels drunk on the praises of men.
As I dance, she reaches out to steady me.
Freyah, don’t go slipping on your tongue.
Don’t ask why father won’t come out to play.
What is an only child lying on the altar, 
burnt over with years of sacrifice, saying I do?
Who will hear words when they take up wings 
singing away their meanings?
My mother is the tree of life, 
I taste my destiny in her and know I will be fruitful.
As I dance, I feel my roots reaching out to steady me.
I hear those birds in my head singing, I do, I do.
I see him not come out to play. I see me. 
I’m blind. I can no longer see my mother.
I am the tree, I am the collector of dust.

from Rattle #65, Fall 2019
Tribute to African Poets


Anointing Obuh: “Growing up in Africa puts you in the race for self-identity and self-fulfillment. I do not know what I was before I started writing. However, there is so much of reality, so much to write about. I see/feel Africa as a world of shapes and sounds, all trying to stand alone but constantly jamming into each other. So when I write as an African poet I am struggling with the quest for independence, continuously resisting being jammed together with those who have come before me and those who are yet to come. Even as Africa is a world cloaked with diverse narratives, you find there are two sides to its tales: the Speakable and the Unspeakable things. I have taken the job both as an African writer, and as a person, to tell those Unspeakable stories and tell them with fearless dexterity.”

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