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/akosua zimba afiriyie-hwedie

Akan Naming Chart, Day 1

In the Akan tradition, children are given first names according to the day of the week on which they are born.

Wɔfrɛ wo sɛn?

Akosua / Kwasi – (Sunday Born)named / for each virgin carrying oil / likewise for five talents doubled / the grace of lilac at the feather’s hem / of a white throated blue swallow / the swallow / for sage and the luxury of sense / the split second of fluorescent light in a passing alley / for simple math: one’s word given and kept / the good and faithful / for blessings / the air’s first breath after the church bell rings

Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?

How can I trust God In the language  in which He first forsook me  from 1619 through Îles des Chiens

to Cape Agulhas. How can I  when English makes a sentence sink, iron gags and fastens mouths?

Dear God, so may it concern: If you will it, turn the wine back to water and replace these seas. Let me begin again with what is clean and will cleanse me.

Akosua Zimba Afiriyie-Hwedie is a Zambian-Ghanaian poet who grew up in Botswana. She holds an MFA in poetry from the University of Michigan. She is a Hopwood and Meader Family Award winner as well as a finalist of: The Brunel International African Poetry Prize, The Palette Poetry Spotlight Award, the Furious Flower Poetry Prize and Wick Poetry Center’s Peace Poem contest. Akosua has received fellowships from Callaloo and the Watering Hole. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in publications including The Napkin Poetry Review, Obsidian, Wildness, Bettering American Poetry, and The Felt. She is currently working on her first poetry collection.

Illustration by Aliya Smith.

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