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I Speak in Kente

Black History Month Contest Winner

CAS for Database

Audric Adonteng

Leominster, MA, USA

St. Bernard's High School


I Speak in Kente

As the Sun dozed off, I wore my grandfather’s hat,

the Sun watching my rows of cornrows,

collapsing on one another.

The fields reminded themselves of

freedom, with Black knots

folding into Black knots, their Black hands

locked into a forbidden story of survival.

Beyond the horizon, I’ve watched the plantain become

Black and ripe with stories of ancestors

& plummet from the muddied streets of Accra

to the bloodied roads of Georgia.

In Asase Ya’s fields, I’ve sat on the Golden Stool,

& I’ve sat on the auction block,

& I’ve watched the Atlantic run dry

& the blood flow, as Satan parted Afua’s waters like

Moses or a Black mother sectioning hair,

dragging us hand-in-hand to the New World.

On Kwahu mountain, I’ve peered

through the eyes of Abena Motianim,

& I’ve known the life of my people

& the knowledge to stare at fences,

witnessing the symbols of transformation.

Mpatapo is encased in iron and steel

around the houses of masters,

a symbol of reconciliation and forgiveness,

sewn on my Kente’s shoulder.

I hear my people in the labor they perform,

and the clothes I wear, in the symbols of freedom

carved into trees, and the map home

sewn across my back, gathering

hope from Yaw Abasi.

I open my mouth with golden cloth

unfolding out in the same

symbols lining the roads across the world.

Nsoroma lines the hem of the midnight sky.

Even though they tore our clothes

& stole our language,

the Adinkra is carved into our hearts.

My Kente cloth / My Rosetta Stone.


I love that [this poem] embodies the philosophy that our ancestral traditions and heritage can never be stolen from us as they are sewn into our being. It resists, it triumphs and it boasts.


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.

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