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Ambassel for an Alternate Beginning | Abigail Meng...

Ambassel for an Alternate Beginning | Abigail Mengesha

Ambassel for an Alternate Beginning | Abigail Mengesha | Agbowo | Reincarnation Issue 2022

ISSUE 5 | JULY 2022 | REINCARNATION


Play the song where I’m born without protest 

and I enter smiling. How my arrival is sweet 

in the way that barley is sweet: a little coarse,  

a little mild. How a nation’s borders won’t fit

too tight around my ribs like desert locust 

choking a bald stalk to splits. How I’ll dance 

till I forget I’m dancing and my body’s pentatonic

scale is the only anthem I’ll ever sing. That it’s more

like a dream where the field is just a field and 

I never distrust my roots: if they’ll stay anchored,

if they’ll stay true. That it’s less like the dry season 

when I’d be bewildered in a fistful of land, unsure 

where the dirt ends and I begin. That there’s only

my husk rising to a chorus of grains and sugar. 


Abigail Mengesha

Writer and editor from Addis Ababa, Abigail Mengesha is a recipient of the George Harmon Coxe Award for Poetry and is currently a Jan Gabrial Fellow at New York University, where she is an MFA candidate in Poetry and a first-year writing instructor.

Instagram handle: @abbymengesha

Photo by Ricardo Gomez Angel on Unsplash


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