A Rehearsal

by Tryphena Yeboah

I want to be remembered fully.
A body cut open where the heart is more than
an organ, more than a beating. A dance, a graceful movement
of something that has seen trauma and has overcome.

As full as my mother’s hands-
a rehearsal of life- carry, break and mend.
Scarred and scarred but we never learn.
Weave a thread through the lips of every man
I kissed. My mother says if men are taught
the silence of women, their mouths will flood.
Imagine every man I’ve been with
walking away with a tongue of waves.
Now wouldn’t you run.

I want to be remembered as a child’s memory
of a bible verse.
I and my father are – a war between myself.
A mouth stuffed with a tribute.
A belly that doesn’t quite digest truth.
How do we make the tragic we’ve been through
stop at the wounds.
In my home, when the fire started and my father would tell me to run,
I’d ask “where to?”
Sometimes his eyes said would you rather burn to ash than be safe
Sometimes his eyes said safe is where I’m with you, even in the flames

I want to be remembered for the giving.
Mouth wide- not taking but pouring.
I find out underneath this body are more bodies
and tell me my legs don’t take off running
at the sight of a knife.
My throat closes into a fist but I do not scream.
Which is to say I do not fight the surgery of softness.
I stretch my skin thin like a map and walk over
this city of light.
Is it possible that you slice into my flesh
and I do not bleed because maybe I am a
a sharp object familiar with cutting.
And now what if the knife becomes the scar
and my hand, the healing.
I touch it lightly and the covenant seals us.
here comes reconciliation,
here comes life.

©Tryphena Yeboah, first published in ‘to grow in two bodies’.

Tryphena Yeboah is a Ghanaian poet and writer. She is a journalist with the Independent Ghana.