- Home Is a Woman
Before I enter the matatufor the drive to Kampala then Lirathe driver stops me to tell mehe's never seen me on this route"you must live outside"I remember I live outside my own countryI pretend not to hearand he says it again, this time behind a cigarette and a smilehe asks me "who are your people? who is your father? your grandfather?"saying he may know my people
I tell him my mother's name and her mother's nameand my great-grandmothers' namesI tell him about the names of the land they could not inheritunless their brothers or fathers or husbands gave it to themI name and map the land, from that tree to the edge of the riverI tell him where my great-grandmothers were bornwhere my grandmothers were bornwhere my mother was bornI hum the names of the women in my familyover and over again like a forgotten prayera forbidden songhe asks again "who are your forefathers, you girl?"I ask him "and who gave birth to them?" and I say the names of the women who gavebirth to them
our ride is silent from Kampala to Lirahe gives me a curious glance from the rearview mirror at my many faceslooking at me while I hold on to my suitcasewhile I carry all the women living inside of meI carry them home [End Page 212]
Arao Ameny is a writer and poet from Lira, Uganda, residing in Columbia, Maryland. She recently completed her MFA in creative writing from the University of Baltimore. Her favorite poet and writer is Dambudzo Marechera from Zimbabwe.