At the Centre

Today doves flew from my head

and my hair grew

the longing is gone from my body

and I’m filled with peace, perfect peace


No longer shall I speak of electrocuted poets

or the ones who inhaled gas until

they danced in the dizziness of death

but of brown women

who turn the soil with their hands

making vegetable gardens and tending fruit trees


Today I went into my storehouse

selected the choicest oil and anointed my body

wrapped myself in the rarest cloth

of a deep wine red

stood at my front gate

and words poured from my mouth in flaming chants


Today the craftsman has come

to make a design for me

of a woman sitting in deep repose

with doves flying from her head

He has made all the pieces, and they fit

well together

I shall hang it at my window for all the world to see

“At the Centre” Copper Woman: And Other Poems. Copyright © 2007 Afua Cooper. Reprinted with permission of Dundurn Press Limited.

Source: Copper Woman: And Other Poems (Natural Heritage Books, 2006).