How strange is it? That I’ve known you all my life, and yet I’ve never met you— A world so foreign, yet so close to my own because I see you, when my eyes spot green, red, and yellow stripes dangling off the Toyota’s rearview black warrior masks across from my grandfather in grayscale. Because I touch you, when my fingers graze the dashikis my brother wore before T’Challa made them cool a crimson gele my mother designed to crown herself queen, before the photographer. Because I taste you, when my tongue melts under fufu and eru soup soft as mashed potatoes on the Thanksgiving table plantains and puff puff childhood fried to golden brown. Because I hear you, when my ears catch AfroBeats played at graduation parties now featuring Akon and Beyoncé Pidgin that Grandma whispers, from the corner of Nigeria and Chad. Between lost plans and sepia-tone stories I wonder how it would feel to hug family I never knew, to cross villages I only dreamt of, to reach a home away from home to bridge the gulf between “African” and “American”
Crystal Foretia is a sophomore studying Political Science and History at Columbia University and daughter of Cameroonian immigrants. Her poetry was first published in Surgam, the literary magazine of Columbia’s Philolexian Society. Ms. Foretia serves as Online Editor for Columbia Undergraduate Law Review and Lead Activist for Columbia University Democrats.