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CAS for Database

Audric Adonteng

Leominster, Massachusetts, USA

St. Bernard's High School


Sankofa: “An Akan proverb meaning, “It is not taboo to fetch what is at risk of being left behind.’”

i’m begging you

reach into your mouth

and feel around for 2011,

when your tooth has yet to fall out

by the hands of a soulless friend.

his hands dragged you closer to Hell

like the black Sketchers, T-shirt, and jeans

on the body of the little boy who drowned

in the lake last summer. your friend’s voice

filling you like the water finding a home

in the lungs of the little boy.

move your hand

and find the emptiness of the tooth that fell

in the aftermath of an unreciprocated war —

a decimation on a peaceful society —

a colonization: no cause but a cost.

pick the hole

until it’s forced to reveal a fully grown boy underneath.

his premature body not able to

endure — but still pull, pull, pull, and drown

out his cries. watch the boy pick, pull, prod, want, and need

to be reminded of the silence to survive

the present: a cruel word for an unsolicited existence.

repeat this until your mouth bleeds

and family seeps from your gums and fills

the grooves in your bottom lip to reveal,

Sankofa because the boy needed to be

reminded of his past to realize he extracted

himself. Sankofa because the boy was so

insecure he chose to drown. Sankofa because

the boy who lost his tooth in 2011

needs his story told to find meaning

in his suffering. so,

i’m begging you

reach into your mouth,

and realize

you are the extractor,

the soulless friend,

the drowner

& the drowned,

the fully grown, premature boy,

and the narrator of

all the boys

all within yourself

in constant contention.


“Sankofa” is a dreadfully nostalgic piece of great tribulation, sprinkling in hope for self-understanding and improvement as its simultaneous linear and circular timeline tells the story of the oppressor and the oppressed. Through the author’s masterful incorporation of Akan culture, we reach into our mouths and realize the future in us is endless: a potential persecutor, a potential liberator, but, most importantly, a young soul reaping our past and creating our future.

Audric Adonteng is a Black poet raised in Leominster, MA. His poetry explores his existence as the son of immigrant parents. Growing up in a small town, Audric relives profound experiences and brings them to life with his unique poetic voice. He has been published in 2022 Art on the Trails: EXPOSURE, Lead & Pulp, and The Eunoia Review.


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