“Upon Arriving in Takoradi” Poem by Joy Gyamfi

Upon Arriving in Takoradi

Poem by Joy Gyamfi


I remember nineteen ninety-six, when I had chubby fingers and chubby toes,

and a heart so whole I had no idea my family was breaking.


I remember the suffocation of humidity; sharp claws around my neck, fucking me slowly.

I tasted the salt in my sweat as it dripped.


I remember the mango flesh you fed me, incisors grinding down on your fingers,

as though you were a tropical fruit too.


I remember paper peeling from walls, fragile and crackling, attempting to hold on.

Our house was different.


I remember the television so loud that static soon turned into silence, white noise into

blackness, I can still smell the stale cigarettes now.


My family constantly collided in the kitchen. Smashing dishes in the sink, we bruised like peaches. We bruised like soft women.


I remember how stubborn the kinks in my hair were, knotted like the roots of a palm tree.

I remember how you tried to carry me.


I still remember the white skulls of black slaves in silver chains on crowded graves.