Poetry by Kofi Konadu Berko

Once upon a time. My uncle told me to pick
Tears from my auntie’s left eye
It smelled

Just behind
the tears
I found
a rusted piece of glass

The jagged edges of the glass
Matched each slash on

her face,
her chest,
her arm,
her thighs

But what could I do? My mother says I’m a child
That all I can do is suck bIg bREASts.
I couldn’t tell her. I couldn’t tell her that.
The cuts on my auntie’s body

Were made by glass
From my uncle’s dressing



for years we called her barren
my brother wanted kids
i wanted nephews

but years came and years went

ma died
pa passed
my kids grew old.

yet my sister in law’s body remained
bland. Un-blooming. Unchanging.

then the goddess from the temple on the Mountain
came and told us that my sister in laws body was

the un-Living body

The body where all half-dead souls went to rest

The body that held so much life that
It died



For mothers born of white earth and black grass
Trapped in skins that threaten to fall
With smiles that reacts to only fireworks
Twiiiiiew pop pop pop

For mothers whose brassieres are cornucopias of freedom
Women whose heartbeats have killed and created
With collar bones that stretches for miles
Sinking and rising with tiredly sung lullabies

For mothers carved from steel coated in Black pepper
Hot Hard beautiful
With dresses that swirl up up into the throes of the sky
Women’s whose moans sounds like the first breaths of Adam

For mothers dressed like saints, built like hospitals
With breaths as rosy as dettol
And fingers, long nimble bony,
Carved in the Cs of carex-es and soaps

For mothers black as stains that scourge the earth

For mothers invisible as wind, tasteless as salt

For mothers as soft as dough
Bodies foldable like blankets
With tears that litter the streets of Accra
Leaving behind glowing silvery lines of hidden rebellion
As they disappear into crevices of tarred roads made of blind faith

For mothers who are goddesses
Accepting only the bloody tears of men
Those whose voices slashes through the thickest of foolish skulls
And penetrates the annals of a history covered in a pot

For mothers whose black skins
who have long been turned to books
Each pain and pleasure and moment
Carefully and carelessly carved into their flesh

For mothers whose spirits have long departed
Bodies rotting away in glass coffins
in the center of the earth’s backyard

To mothers whose lives linger on, breathless


Kofi Konadu Berko studies Adult Education and Human Resource Studies
at the University of Ghana. For the longest time, writing has been a
way of exploring the identities that dwell within. He has had writing
in Adabraka: Stories from the centre of the world, Writers Space
Magazine, Kalahari Review and others. He thinks at

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