Fiery tongue – David Agyei-Yeboah

I lash out at mother,
She reclines at the far end of the sofa

Her eyes are glued to the sweat and stale of a B-grade thriller.
Yet her tongue is still laced, fiery and aware

She fights back
Reminding me of all the times I failed in high school

I rebut,
Reminding her of her spat with her late sister

Who barely let out the word, ‘selfish’ before passing on.
And the late nights dad punched hard into the wall

Cojoined with my bedroom
Whenever they argued.

Dad always reminded her of her hot ex
Who still worked in her office.

She assured him nothing was going on
And then her tongue work came alive again

She cursed him down
How dare he keep score?

After all, on the eve of their 5th anniversary
He came home smelling of fancy air and strawberries dipped in alcohol.

Then he reminded her,
Didn’t she admit to kissing her ex a fortnight before the marriage?

How dare she keep score?

High school drop-out
Shell of your sister

Mother yells at me

Don’t push it
I retort

Didn’t you light the flame of terror in our family dynamic
Ruining my childhood?

With your hoarse voice,
Slicing through peaceful nights?

Ruining high school prep sessions?

Yes, mother
I failed high school

Your tongue lanced through my teens.
And messes me up still

Together with that carcass under earth.
That wreaked of bruised pride.

David Agyei–Yeboah is an artist and storyteller from Accra, Ghana.

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