Finalist in the 2013 U of T Magazine Poetry Contest
My father’s mother has strong hands.
She wrings out a heavy fabric,
bent over a large round bucket splashing soapy water all about
her wrinkled toes
as the sun peeks over
the sleeping compound.
I watch her,
somehow in awe.
An observer to this quotidian routine.
She throws the cloth over her shoulder,
abandons her bucket
and makes her way towards the drying line.
Her round frame swings with each step.
I slither, slender, behind her.
She gestures to the pegs,
I understand I am to pass them to her.
We hang the cloth out to dry.
The morning cock crows.
Inside, the meal has been prepared.
My father’s mother sinks her eighty-nine years of life
into the chair opposite from me,
then lowers her head in prayer.
When she opens her eyes
she meets mine
for the first time
She gestures toward the table,
plantains pounded to fufu
nuts ground to soup.
Who forsook what should lie between us,
I wonder, behind hungry eyes.
Dionne Boahene is a student at the University of Toronto.