The man led me to the water to pray, but when I got there I saw;
Lava melting flesh off bone,
Skeletons dissolving in acid, skulls with frozen screams making useless pleas to the sky,
Toxic sludge turning the grass an unholy amber color.

I knelt by the water to pray, but before my eyes closed I saw;
A woman with her hands clasped in front of her face, whispering mysterious chants to a
blood-soaked rosary, a baby falling and hitting its head on jagged rock, police car lights, arrest warrants.

I woke up at night to pray, but before I could open my mouth I saw;
Drops of water and sprite and Schnapps landing on a tender tongue—deceptively clear—This is Life. This is sweet. Beware. Spotless fabric for a spotless soul, no suggestion of a stain in sight.



Post image by Bine Rodenbergervia Flickr

About the Author:

Portrait - GadegbekuZoë Gadegbeku is a 23 year old Ghanaian student in her first year in the Creative Writing MFA program at Emerson College. She spends most of her time trying to recover from conversations about adverb placement and “what’s at stake” for short story characters by writing poetry behind fiction’s back and reading (and re-reading) some of the women writers who led her down this path to begin with. When she’s not trying to catch all the themes she missed from Ama Ata Aidoo and Toni Morrison’s writings (which she may, or may not have snuck from her mother’s bookshelf beginning at the age of 12) she maintains a blog called “She Who Writes Reality” packed with assorted posts somewhere in between prose poetry, fiction and frustrated rants about being an African woman writer trying to belong to herself. She is trying to use her art as self-therapy as well as a journal for all the things she feels are wrong with the world, hoping to inspire the “doers” to fix what the writers have been accused of using only as fodder for flowery phrases and nothing more.


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I'm finishing up a phd at Duke University where I study African novels, which I believe are some of the loveliest things ever written. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

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I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

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