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Shap Shifter & On Grief by Richard De-Graft Tawiah

Shape shifter 

This would be the first time I’m saying that every opposing side knows their rights and has their lefts stashed in courage. Just like people at the end of the war will see six out of nine, it’s the same way no one can convince the others that it is not nine they are seeing. I’m writing from the middle of disagreements, understanding that I can never be in the shoes of anyone or point fingers at their shortcomings. 

In class, I argued for the people who upheld the theory of cultural relativism. My lecturer was stunned. I don’t know how to take a stand in a foreign land, for I know my roots so well. I do not do this because the farmers know the truth of differences—how every root length lines up to grow a plant—than we, humans, who found taste in the voice of a serpent over that of God. 

I do this because I can never wash my hands clean after shedding the truth off another to wear the truth I believe in. I do this because whenever I take a stand on the middle ground, I truly get to understand that everyone is right, and the truth is a shape shifter; we speak it how we see it, so pardon us; do not say we’ve lost our way.

On Grief

For in grief nothing stays put― C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

My voice scurries across the room. I run along, tracing how this ends—as an echo or just a memory. There’s a storm in me. I’m deprived of my rainbows, for there’s no light beneath the spoon, and my stomach simply can’t take a burial at this time. I feel the twist in reality. I’m tossed away like a leaf fighting for balance. Struggling to breathe. Finding words to speak.

I am looking for a reason to let go of what is left behind. Water makes room for everything it finds, and so do these tears. But what is left to be wash off my body—pain or the fear of having to go on with only memories of you—only a handful of you?

I’m told the remembrance won’t be real; it will be my mind forming your limbs and your face. Giving you life to walk. To talk. To laugh. To smile. To be. And yet, you’d find me crying because every bit of these happy images of you will hurt my eyes to see what is truly not here.

You have gone like the wind. A song lost to its bridge. Lowered in tune. A body committed to the ground. From breathe to nothingness. From dust to dust. And I, chained to despair, looking for strength to leave this burial ground.

Richard De-Graft Tawiah is a writer/spoken word poet from Shama in the Western Region of Ghana. He is a 2022-2023 Nadèli Creative Cafe Bootcamper. His works have appeared or are forthcoming in the Global Writers Project, Decolonial Passage, GhanaianWriters, Nadèli Creative Company, and elsewhere.

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