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  • Writer's pictureRhoda Akua Ameyaa

Why I Do Not Know My Name

(A poem)


I know why I do not know my name:

I was born of the sun,

In a place that never existed.

I am the night — darkness in a tunnel that knows no light.


I do not beg for rights because I do not know how to fight.

I respond to onipa ba, for that is what I am.

What exists beyond the flesh is what I respond to:

A name that isn't mine is what I am attached to.


And when they call the name,

It sequences all the matters that brought me up.

Then there is a transient cold spell;

it runs down my spine, making me still.

I know why I do not know my name:

I was born closest to the heart of the earth,

So obedience is not my rhythm.

As long as scavengers of power devour the helpless and

brood on histories not written,

obedience won’t be my rhythm.


They say my name makes them uncomfortable,

So I have lost its meaning.

The reason I do not know my name is that no one says it.

And when they say my name, they don't mean it.


So why must there be a name,

if no one calls it?

Why must there be a voice if there’s

Nothing to be told?

I will leave my name on the lips of my people.

When you refer to me, say Onipa Ba.

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