Joyce Ashuntantang

Issue #
September 6, 2013

Nfugu *

I have listened to it 15 times already!
What was there in my voice that sent you searching?
How did you see beyond my now to reach my exiled soul?

I ride the rhythm into the Atlantic.
Like slaves of old, the waves lead me;
A return trip to ancestral shores.

Shoulders tell in back and forth motions
The story of the Sosso-Bala.**
And Akoma Mba’s*** gyrating children.

I stamp the ground and my cry beckons
From the belly of balafons;
My self-exile is a map I don’t draw.

*A popular Bikutsi tune in Cameroon
** The original Balafon reputed to be 800 years old and kept in the city of Niagassola in Guinea.
*** A mythic hero among the Bikutsi-dancing people of Cameroon

from A Basket of Flaming Ashes Langaa Publishers, Cameroon/ Michigan State University Press, 2010

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