Poetry by Sarpong-Osei-Asamoah

A self-portrait too dead

At high noon on June 28, 2021, Nasiru Yussif and Murtala Mohammed were shot and killed by security personnel at a protest in Ejura, Kumasi, Ghana.

A country made of pins & needles sharpens its teeth on our teeth.
We were molten birds quiet as the fireless face of God’s corpse.

When the gun opened its furnace teeth
It murdered acres of my eyes, and fed me iron through its umbilical cord.

I fell once onto the tar; and once through the target.
If I die here, dig me up and bury me

in the eyelids of Ejura‘s warm grave
where my mother’s grief melts the bullet inside me.

The bloodied air falls through my punctured throat like a dead sparrow.
I hold hands with the fire.


Portrait of a country near River Pra

blood stickier than God’s voice is beaten into you
and lived, happily, in their own fists.
on earth, grief is our worst cousin.

they say they gave the rivers milk.
and nobody cries over blood if it tastes like milk.
they had a slumber party in River Ankobra’s ancient rooms and brought a shovel—

dug up her golden corpse
and planted a libation of murder weapons in her blood.
Gold is a false god.

i ask: what about the blood stains on Ankobra’s bed?
they answered: close your eyes
and picture  over her nameless wounds.

Sarpong Osei Asamoah is a Ghanaian writer who writes both in Twi and English. His work has been featured in Protean Magazine, Agbowo Magazine, Olongo Africa Magazine, Lolwe Magazine, The Hellebore, IceFloe Press Magazine, Lunaris Review, and Writers Space Africa, (Twi poems) at WriteGhana.org.