Ekeko

n., Lingala—a statue or an idol

my ekeko cracks to the heat of the sun
and the breath of the wind.
a blade of grass in her last life,
cut down before a wet monsoon.

my ekeko is slender from blackwood because
she is pungent and she is tar,
not chiseled chestnut or some shokolá—
food for the millionaire and the termite.

but my ekeko wears a scarf of blueberry blues
and dark wine reds and mango yellows because
her nsúki is dead and kinky from the crackled
nkáké of nzámbe when His monsoons come.

my ekeko has kissed grapefruits and pomegranates
but still thirsts for sand, the bloody
ebembe of those who could not leave Egypt when
nzámbe spoke: let My people go.

my ekeko bleeds water in summer
and fire in winter because she is
a sponge for the life of her bana.
they also come from dust.

my ekeko hears ghosts in the
cool of every night as they float around her,
afraid that they will stomp and
she will shatter.

but if you ask my ekeko what she wants,
she will tell you to fill her with rubies
and throw her into the mái ndombe for earth
to swallow, or for a fisherman to catch.

Author’s Note:

The poem, “Ekeko,” was submitted as a multilingual text. Therefore, it is not a translated piece. Patricia Ndombe is the sole author for this poem.

Patricia Ndombe is an undergraduate student pursuing a major in English and creative writing. She grew up in Knightdale, NC, and is shaped by a family precisely half African and half African-American. She enjoys writing poetry as a creative outlet that enables her to reflect the world around her, escape the troubles of life, or look at it through another lens. Many of her poems, including “Ekeko,” were inspired from periods of identity uncertainty during her first two years of college. Her poems surround the themes of mental health and holistic health.

She’s been blessed to publish two poems with two different literature reviews/magazines: “Crisis Over Coffee” and “man ≠ mortal.”

She thanks you for the opportunity to share her work.