Nana Brantuo describes herself as a Ghanaian/Sierra Leonean American. In the two poems featured here—“Elmina” and “Kwesi”—she expresses so much so beautifully with so little.
The smell of human flesh,
brings tears to my eyes.
While the tourists pose on the rusted cannons,
While men and women sell local crafts for much needed cedis,
horror and rage fill my heart in the women’s holding cell.
Walking where women once wept,
praying to return to their native lands.
In Kumasi, I found myself lost in the confusion of Kejetia.
Searching for powder glass beads in a sea of sellers,
hustling for tonight’s dinner and tomorrow’s rent.
Krobo beads in sight, I followed the pinks and blues and greens
only to feel the roughness of your hands.
And something about their warmth made me forget who I was.
Something about the yellow in your eyes and
the darkness of your skin, made my heart swell.
Nana Brantuo is a second-year doctoral student at the University of Maryland, College Park. Check out her cool tumblr blog, The New African. Her work has been published on For Harriet, an online community for women of African ancestry, as well as on HolaAfrica!, a Pan-Africanist Queer Womanist Collective.