Poetry by Tawiah Mensah

My country broke me first.

Days before you left, you asked me about the things that make my heart ache. You always wondered why I’d never been able to stretch out my scars, watch them cower beneath the sun so I can begin to be whole. I told you about all the men, the women and the gods that come running to reap all I have sown. But today I will name another man, another woman, – a country. The one I call my home. The last place thought holding the remnants of my dreams. A belief so distant my body shudders at the thought.

You asked me why I never try. How painless it is to shrug and move on even as walls erupt from dead soils. Even while I come face to face with all the things I could ever want. You see the blisters on my knees? Before them, came the blood. Before that, the tears, and centuries before that was that thing called hope you wish to burden me with. Do you know how tightly I clasped onto the many futures between my palms, with knees on the ground and eyes too sore to face the sun? There is no saving me. There is no reviving us. Something in this land feeds on those who want a way. And I refuse to die last waiting for a home in a country sworn to bury the dead.

Tawiah Mensah is a graduate of the University of Ghana, where she double-majored in French and Political science. She is published in the 2021 Balance Anthology – Equanimity, by CGWS and ‘A Voice’, is a voice anthology. She has also written and shared many of her poems on her social media and blog.