Aya: She Defies Difficulties by Beah Batakou-Meynisse (Adinkra Poetry Prize 2023 Runner-Up)

dust motes dance  

in the stream of sunlight seeping  

through the narrow openings  

beyond the wooden planks, exposed wiring, and mice. 

here is heaven scattering; 

we harvested water from these crevices. 

before petrichor would filter down the dingy openings, 

A’maa would be there, cradling her basin and my bowl. 

drip drop tick tock 

water falls with a soft plop 

clock hands over each other slowly lop and  

sometimes both of mine too 

splash splosh scatter splatter 

i envy A’maa; she finds rest in spasms 

she holds her body straight in silence  

until the water brims. 

three full moons after menarche  

when winds heralded a storm  

i floated under the interstices of my childhood, where light scattered  

holding up a basin, i admired how the water drops 

how pure her form; each one different from the last 

how spirited her fall; each one timelier than the last 

though there are no holes in our new house 

i carry a replica of old apertures on my body 

when the sky lowers over my head 

i hold a basin against my skin, and 

harvest the rain.

Meet the Poet

A’bena Awuku-Larbi writes as Beah Batakou. She co-authored The Ocean Between Us, an epistolary project documenting an intergenerational creative process developed between two women authors in Accra and Los Angeles. She is an alumnus of the Mo Issa Workshop 2021 and her work has appeared in the Contemporary Ghanaian Writers’ Series and the Journal of The Writers Project of Ghana. Her professional background encompasses energy law and management, artistic activism, and gender justice. She writes about women and for women. A’bena co-runs the Happy Monthlies Project for ending period poverty in rural Ghana.

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