Claudia Owusu

Come to the Edge

 

Mama

greets the sun like

he the homie from the block

she ain’t seen in awhile”

                       –Nasra Adem

 

I was born boiling

under the heat of a West African sun at 1:30 p.m

sweat pouring like bountiful rivers of

coconut milk at the beach.

 

I was born in an exchange

with a father whose one leg

remained in one country, and the other

in another.

pacing back and forth under the brim of world

cup tournaments      where national allegiance

came into play. I was born i n the womb of a

mother whose body symbolized sex

smooth   mocha

complexion sweltering like orange stones on

dirt paths–

resilient neck reflecting the

testimony of the sun within the kiosk of an

electric fanned hair salon–

 

her glory ended

and began there.

 

throngs of women  arriving with stories of

their men on their tongues. leaving with the

smell of pink oil and dark & lovely relaxing

creams conversing on the strands of their baby hairs.

 

I was born speaking in tongues, justifying

arguments with adults at the top of stairwells

throwing worlds like baited fish on the cracks

of my teeth. young girl–not quite young, been

here

before.

seven year old girl mimicking Mama’s sex

appeal because that is all she knows.

 

with mini skirts and bare back tops

and afro beats on radios under harmattan heat

 

it was all birthed anew on long car rides to kebab bars

with the smells of guinness bottles and marital violence

evacuating innocence.

Mama ain’t raise no innocent

Girl,

Mama raised the

 

Sea

 


 

Your mother; or All the Mothers that I’ve Ever Secretly Wished Were Mine

 

i fold myself into the corner of the four inch room

as you run your fingers over the seasoned piano like

the spirals on a 2 ply notebook. you tell me about your

mother–how she used to chug her warm beers seated

on a mahogany bench before the black and white beast,

the living room light growing small with each gulp as she got

really into Alicia Keys and cried–her emotions spilling out

of her chest like a tornado in a Louisiana storm/ seamless and rigid.

you say this and I peer at you, stretching my finger to the lines

of your forehead as you play / you don’t seem real and i fold

my arms into perfect creases on my knees as your music swells

over my head .

the heavenly

gates open and tears bloom out of my eyelids like freight trains

under the safe sheet of mourning,

my shoulders heaving

my sobs echoing

the ways in which I am sure angels lament their immortality.

you ask me if I am okay. you say that my laughter

the way it moves through sadness, hard and stable,

smiling
i say, this?
it’s nothing.


Claudia Owusu is a Sophomore at Otterbein University, studying Creative Writing. She loves the color mustard yellow, and just recently turned 20. She thinks the number itself looks pretty old.