An Elegy – Part 3 By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr.

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Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jnr., Ph.D.

(For Rev.-Col. Eugene Boapea Boamah Sintim[-Brown] Aka Kwaku Brown,

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Retired Chaplain-General of the Ghana Armed Forces, 1941-2017)

 

The ride

from Abetifi

to Asiakwa

with Reverend Bromley

and his

Kukurantumi-born wife

felt as calm

as never before,

I was all attent,

all ears,

as Obama

would say,

rapt with attention

I mean,

for I had never heard

a Ghanaian-born

adult woman speak

so white

as snow,

the American lilt,

I shall later

learn;

Mrs. Bromley

was jet-black,

which made the contrast

with her voice

even more sharp;

of course,

I had heard

American blacks speak

their deep

African-inflected

lilt before,

but Mrs. Bromley

spoke white,

which was not

all that strange,

being that she also

slept white…

I quickly made up

my mind,

maybe one day

I would also fly

to Yankeedom

and marry me

a snow-white wench,

then I would acquire

an accent as white

as snow –

there is something funny

about a smiling goat

on the way

to the slaughter house,

feeling jolly

and hopeful

like it was all

rosy and

merry

on the other side

of the deep-blue sea…

when I left Abetifi,

I had been prescribed

two dozen shots,

I was yellow

with malaria,

something

I had been suffering

from birth,

I still had a dozen

shots

to go,

I was deathly sick,

the dispenser

at the clinic

had said,

but nobody seemed

to have noticed

or they simply

couldn’t give

a hoot,

and I was certain

I couldn’t give

a hoot

myself,

pushed into a

free-fall

with Aunt Bea’s

forefinger,

I was ready

to die

and find my way

back to God,

whoever He was,

wherever

He was –

three days later,

the lady dispenser

would go to

uncle’s house

and ask

for me,

only to be told

I had been sent away

on account of

 something bad

I had done –

“But that child

is gravely ill,

he still had

a dozen shots

to take…”

Uncle,

I deeply hurt.

What does it matter,

a wayward waif

is as good

as dead –

Dear Uncle,

I deeply hurt…

You would later come down

to Asiakwa

and bashfully complain

I had made you feel

like a bad man,

that I should have told you

I had a few more shots

to go…

what did it matter,

my rude send-off

would merely

have been delayed;

besides,

you were no bad man

at all,

just a good husband

who rightly doted

on his wife,

I was the tare

 a nuisance

to be uprooted

and burned –

besides,

haven’t our sages said

a nearby slap

had better been

promptly received,

lest the recipient

prematurely

die of angst –

a slap in time

can save

a dozen

deaths –

Uncle,

I have been deeply

hurt,

it was not

your fault,

I simply ought not

to have been

born,

then you wouldn’t

have had to bear

another’s load

of crock –

I am

the waste

the night-soil men

forgot

to lug,

yes,

I am

the waste

that ought not

to have been

discharged,

I am

the waste

that escaped from

the septic tank,

the trap

that ought not

to have been

set –

Uncle,

I have been

deeply hurt…

I am

the baby poop

that escaped

the nursing mother’s

mop –

I am

deeply ashamed

of my birth,

I look forward

to my death,

happy to end

it all

and dissolve

into dust,

my birth

was also

my death,

my death

shall be

the beginning of

my birth,

Uncle,

peace,

be still…

7/13/17

(RIP)