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,
you are the extractor,
the soulless friend,
& 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.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR