a string that has one end tied around a person's waist like a talisman and the other end tied to the root of a family tree, an ancestry. a string so long that it pulls you back from long treks overseas into a colloquy about your tribe and the tongue your people break bread in. it follows you around like a shadow and silently, steadfastly speaks over you. sometimes it calls out to your maker to clear your path - chidùbèm, it may pronounce you blessed - Ibùkún, make you the subject of a coronation - sàráuniyà or tell a tale, a prophecy about what or who you should be- ùlèyi. sometimes it lies quietly, brooding over the episode of life that hatched you. i've heard that a man's native name would grow on him like yam tendrils, traversing crevices and crannies that have lined his life, fitting into his being the way a plug would fit into a socket. even if he's lost in a sea of humans, these tendrils will grow out, leading his ancestors to him or him to his ancestors
Glorious Kate Akpegah is a Nigerian writer and medical student at the University of Calabar. Akpegah enjoys reading and writing poems. She is the 2nd prize winner of the Brigitte Poirson Poetry Contest August/September 2021 edition. Some of her works are published or forthcoming in Spillwords, The Hearth, Pawners Paper, Petals and Pitfalls Anthology and her Instagram page @gloriousakpegah.