Ex Libris

I come from the land of

Where You From?

My people dispossessed of their stories

and who have died again and again

in a minstrelsy of afterlives, wakes,

the dead who walk, waiting and

furrowed, like ivy crawling up


All those museums and mausoleums,

lifting languages from rivers.

But I cannot leave them

for the rugged North

nor the hot-blooded South south of us,

nor the untamed deltas

that plaster us to our jackets


My road is neither smooth nor gravel,

my destination neither cathedral nor whole.

I am learning

all about ex-colonial States and states,

the oblivion of my fate

and the legacy of the Veil

from sea to shining sea, drowning

in the calm of our Great Lakes


And the orphan angels

who crowd our classrooms:

I see them, heartless & disrespected

each page burning as it gets read,

and their othered faces burning to tell the others

this ain’t nobody’s Atlantic!

we dont have to keep on dyin’ in books!

Bibliographical info

Adebe D. A., “Ex Libris” from Ex Nihilo. Copyright © 2010 by Adebe DeRango-Adem. Reprinted by permission of Frontenac Books.

Source: Ex Nihilo (Frontenac Books, 2010)

Start here: