Read time: 1 mins


by Tryphena Yeboah
22 March 2023

For Dr S Waite


A glass door separates us.

My teacher stands on the other side

of my apartment, box in hand. She has brought me

fruits, tea for my sore throat, cinnamon rolls

for dessert, oven-baked pasta to last me days.

She has cooked, shopped and driven all the way
to downtown Lincoln, its buildings towering over me,

clamping shut my quiet fears, my sinking heart at night.


She has seen me. She has done all this just for me.

I cannot keep it together; I do not care what I look like.

I stand there and weep like a child. I am a child—

homesick and feverish, weakened by a virus,

struck again by the malady of lonesomeness.

All my needs and longings in this life, and yet,

this is the one thing that breaks me open, touching

something deep, soundless and desperate.


That morning, before she knew what miracle

was coming my way, my mother, an ocean away,

cried on the phone when I told her about my illness:

‘But who will feed you? But who will feed you?’

There I was thinking about my aching limbs,

my anxious heart, this maddening quarantine.

There she was thinking about kindness,

the ancient remedy for a wounded heart.

About the Author

Tryphena Yeboah

Tryphena Yeboah is a Ghanaian writer and the author of the poetry chapbook A Mouthful of Home (Akashic Books, 2020). Her fiction and essays have appeared in Narrative Magazine, The Los Angeles Review of Books and Lit Hub, among others. She is currently a PhD student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, studying English with an emphasis in creative writing. […]