Poems from Exile

Sosina Ashenafi, author and journalist, was born and raised in Ethiopia, and is known for her sarcastic essay style, short story writing and her poetry. She now works and lives in Canada, where she has published a number of collections of short stories. In her poem “Tapestry” she describes her longing for something lost, in a melancholy and nostalgic tone. This poem is a search for the true story of a land in a deep crisis, and it poses questions concerning memory and its ability to erase that which chafes most and is most painful.

May 3 2019 Text: Sosina Ashenafi


Oh! My homeland
You are a gullible!
Don’t you remember?

It was your husband
who was the assassin
and it was your brother
who was assassinated.

Your mourning is so deep
within your families!
We recall this tragedy,
year in; year out.
Don’t you remember? That is my question!

Oh! My beloved country
the cradle of mankind,
land of harmony and diversity,
we crossed rivers together!
We were woven together as cloth!
All that is now a bygone
that I question again
when I get confused.
Losing sight of the threads that held us together 
I see only the unraveling


Mumbo Jumbo

Speaking mumbo jumbo
they have thrown 
our essential mother 
into the void.
Now seen as bare bones. 
bereft of all her tears 
she fights the angels of death.
They are feeding us mumbo jumbo
denying the naked truth.
They need to send an emissary
To her starving children
To feed them
And put a roof over their heads. 

Talking mumbo jumbo
they are giving ears to the elephant.