Friday 30 April 2021

Four Poems by Afiah Obenewaa

Palm wine Junction

Pain creeps in like a warthog

spreading distaste all around in a quickening quagmire

reducing men to tottering feebles

as it prowls the street with intent.

It lurks behind barricaded windows

sniffing for an entry into darkened rooms

sparing neither friend nor foe.

Pain slithers along guttered alleys

shiny after sprinkles of rainfall

on cemented floors.

Pain keeps coming

sullen, like an unwelcome guest,

gliding from house to house

leaving behind a sickening odor in fenced dwellings

here in Palm Wine Junction

set far from the main road.

Far in the distance

A woman’s pained voice reverberates

across slim-greased walls.

Another child dead in the night

The third in a row.



Hughes’ rivers transits, cleanses and clenches.

My rivers clasps and etches in memory.

It moistens in watery ripples,

the beginning from the end.

That is my river.

It flows along memory banks,

hiding within the depths, treasures traded on love shores.

My river muffles echoes of sworn allegiances

whispered from the soul of desire.

My river wears a mask

concealing from public gaze

Defiance. Desire. Passion. Urge.

Memories must be preserved

not exposed to public ridicule

in a fit of raging doubt

lest it be mislabeled.


Rivers Preserve.


They say I must wake up early to fetch your bathing water.

They even added that I make sure it is not biting cold.

I must even stay to carry away your water pot after bathing.

All this I did and more.

I licked the water off your back.

I smeared scented shea butter across your scarred ridges.

I ensured the leathery wrinkled folds around your groin glistened with moisture

I worshipped your manhood

where I offered scented worship.

I was told to quench your sexual desires

And not pay attention to how my own body works.

I exceeded their expectations

Every night I sprawled across your urine-soaked straw mat

Eagerly awaiting your empty thrusts

and feigning moans to match your assertions of masculinity.

All this I did

All these I sacrificed.

Now they accuse me of your death

Tomorrow I must prove my innocence before the Council of Elders

My mothers say I hasten the process

So, we can bury you next market day

And I will be off to serve my sentence with the river goddess.

I am not the first

I won’t be the last.

I wear a knowing smile

I know how exactly you died

My incantations were well-aimed.


And so other Wednesdays bear tales of gaiety.

I remember the Wednesday Odarley gave birth

I remember it like yesterday.

Laughter was served in paper plates

We all drank

Oh! I forgot!

We giggled incessantly deep into the night.

My own Wednesday comes in mournful clothes,

dragging solemn-faced-black-cloaked ministers home.

Their monotonic messages of hope

all I need to soothe the scourge of pain.

Sleep sleeps on my Wednesdays

Long before dawn my eyes peer the darkness

And I have to drag half-asleep-slowly-snoring baby

all the torturous way to Special Clinic.

Wednesdays at Korlebu

are a sight to behold.

Varying degrees of feverish heat

are measured out in exact kilos without scales.

All these are doled out by humans in white overalls.

Come see my Wednesdays.

Come help me price my prized oil-bean.

So, the highest bidder wins the auction

and Wednesday appointments are cancelled.

Afiah Obenewaa, is a Ghanaian writer living and working in Ghana-West Africa. Some of her poems are published in online journals like The Mamba, ActiveMuse and PoetrySoup. Her works normally focus on minority groups like women and children.



  1. Wonderfully crafted. I will follow your footsteps to become a renowned writer too.

  2. You are a gemđź’–


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