Endowed in perpetuity by the Glenna Luschei Fund for Excellence

The Last Communion

The Last Communion

By Mawuli Adjei

A yard of loincloth, half-draped
Chest bared, not for combat
Feet firmly implanted, not in mimicry
Of the predatory panther’s poise

‘Tis this tongue you gave me
Sharpened on a blazing whetstone
To the brilliance of the parakeet’s eloquence
That dares again to ignite this infant morn to life

In this raised calabash is water laced with cornflour
With five fingers I stir it like a gyroscope
This last communion, against the corruption
Of the the drunkard’s flippant foul mouth

Through the mist of time
Beyond the flimsy bridges of smokescreens
I see you on the other side, somnolent—as ever
And if I address you today in the dirge-master’s lyric
I do it on behalf of the tremulous clan
Whose supplications you continue to snuff out in plumes
Through your broken clay-pipes and tobacco-browned teeth

Well, here, the night is upon us
The rains sneak upon us without the gathering of clouds
The storms threaten to drive us to the discarded margins
Like you, as fossils consigned to realms azoic
To make place for fresh humanoids

Shall we now not eat totems for laxatives
Drink taboos for aphrodisiacs
Revoke old prayers, crucify false prophets
And embrace new gods and fetishes?

Akpagana, Dekpekutor, Shitor, Soglo—
If I call one, let him call the others—
Perhaps, the time has come
To banish all invocations and libations
Trample this shaky calabash and dregs underfoot
And jolt you from your eternal slumbers
Back to this flipside of nightmares
And the vinegar taste of a second life

But some oracular premonition tells me
There’ll be no resurrection
Unless there’s a new erection
Like phallic mushroom outgrowths on this age-long dunghill
Where we’re gathered today like vultures for autopsies.


Mawuli Adjei

Mawuli Adjei has taught English in Nigeria, Libya, and Ghana. Currently, he is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of English, University of Ghana, Legon, where he teaches African and Postcolonial Literature, Literary Criticism and Creative Writing, and other courses.

Writing under the pen name Mawuli Adzei, he has to his credit the collection of poetry “Testament of The Seasons” (ERASKA Print, 2012), the novel “Taboo” (Kwadwoan, 2012). His novel, “The Jewel of Kabibi (Infinity, 2014)” is just off the press.

He is currently working on a third novel, “Unchained”.

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