“She of no roots” by Lisa Kahuthu

You may ask her what it is to be a man
with no roots,
with no culture.
A puzzling thought that is.
How can it be that she has no culture?
Culture that one is born into.
Culture that raises us into proper people.
Culture that tells us how far is too far,
and how to carry ourselves.
Ah! She is just confused…
Defiance in her eyes,
She spiritedly stands for her home.
The motherland she loves so dearly.
The mother who is struggling to rise;
rise from the ashes of strife and poverty.
The sometimes dispirited mother
who is losing her flesh and blood
to causes she could not fathom;
extremist agendas and ethnic uprisings.
I promise it’s just a phase.
On the other hand, she seemed detached.
For one, she has never mastered the tongue
of her ancestors.
The language of those whose blood flows
beneath her melanin­ rich skin.
Whom she only associates with from
hear­say.
Her roots are rather mythical to her.
She’ll toe the line eventually.
Two, she was accustomed to ways she
had read about in the books that her
wide nose was always hidden behind.
She was learning to unlearn some of
the traits she had picked up.
Even her thoughts flowed freely in
a language foreign to her people.
She felt guilty of intellectual betrayal.
Then again, circumstance bears no apology.
She sought to appreciate the vibrant ways
of her motherland first;
to re­connect.
You know, act as she’s supposed to.
She was aligned to no culture as yet,
unbridled in her pursuit.
To find and appreciate that which
moved to the resounding beat of her heart.
And ultimately to find a distinctiveness
she could proudly hold.


Lisa Kahuthu is a budding writer from Kenya. She is currently a university student pursuing International Relations and is passionate about Arts and Culture. Her medium of expression is creative writing, which she finds an enjoyable avenue for sharing her thoughts and connecting with others. Besides writing, she loves to read, which she says exposes her to fresh perspectives and is a great way to escape and unwind.

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