Speaking in Tongues with Enyonam - Darko Antwi

It was still winter in England. And I saw Enyonam,
At Shepherd Bush, walking briskly to a train station

Getting into each other’s way, we took several turns
To my house: 294 Highbury Avenue, West London

After dinner, steamy bath, warm hugs and all that,
She asked with her eyes if she could stay overnight

I held her plump brown cheek in reply. So she stayed,
As fresh as an Akomadan tomato in a season basket

A few hours before bedtime, we conversed endlessly:
I spoke about blackmagic, spells, and fortune-tellers

She spoke about men with broad hairy chest
And then, Valentine cards and favourite colours

Then I spoke about Jah Houphouet nous parle,
And Hypocrite, and other whips of the Ivorian singer

Together, we spoke about our tribes and birthplaces,
And wooden lorries, cocoa farms and rural folk

She spoke about dowries, hairstyles and photographs
And then, honeymoon, childbirth and contraception

And I spoke about history teachers and Mansa Musa
And the sawdust and fracas of the 1966 coup

Together we spoke about Nana Kwaku Bonsam
And then, the glorious feet of Kejetia preachers

She spoke about fabric, textiles and jewel boxes
And the goddess frame of Asabea Cropper

And I spoke about freekick missiles and offside traps
And the assassination of goalkeeper Robert Mensah

Together we spoke about our proud Alma Mater,
And Sabbath, and the might of Corpus Christi

She spoke about housewives and groundnut soup
And then, the estate and franchise of Kofi Wayo

And I spoke about the endangered species of poetry
And poets who die young – and poets who die poor

Again she spoke about men with broad hairy chest,
And then, Valentine cards and favourite colours

And I spoke about the clattering beads around her waist
And her dimples and her sharp olive eyes…

I wish I could – yet I can’t remember her last words
But it was near midnight when our mouths got closer…

And we finally locked tongues, and spoke no more
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