grayscale raindrops on ground
Photo by Sam Moqadam on Unsplash

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Palm Wine Junction by Afiah Obenewaa

Pain creeps in like a warthog

spreading distaste all around in quickening quagmire

reducing men to tottering feebles

as it prowls the street with intent.

It lurks behind barricaded windows

sniffing for an entry into darkened rooms

sparing neither friend nor foe.

Pain slithers along guttered alleys

shiny after sprinkles of rainfall

on cemented floors.

Pain keeps coming

sullen, like an unwelcome guest,

gliding from house to house

leaving behind a sickening odor in fenced dwellings

here in Palm Wine Junction

set far from the main road.

Far in the distance

A woman’s pained voice reverberates

across slim-greased walls.

Another child dead in the night

The third in a row.



Afiah Obenewaa writes: I am Afiah Obenewaa, a writer living and working in Accra-Ghana. I am particularly interested in works that feature "everyday ordinary people". I believe they are the real creators of magic. Some of my works have appeared in online journals like The Mamba, ActiveMuse, and Hakari.

Author's note

In "Palm Wine Junction", there is an interrogation of an existing belief among certain people that death assumes an animal-like fashion and sneaks in on people under the cover of darkness to snatch especially children away. Every child who dies especially in the night is often believed to be caused by the death spirit, sometimes perceived as a warthog. Advances in medicine in especially recent times have proven that it is actually malaria that causes the death and not a stalking spirit. The belief, however still persists among certain folks.