Giving Voice

Winter 2017

illustration by Zuzana Kubišová ’17My Grandfather


        whose stories were large
like a tree’s shadow
under which many people
could rest

        who walked slowly like a turtle
reflecting kindness

        who was over one hundred
and like a precious suitcase
contained wealthy things

        whose heart was open
like a flower
on which bees could land
to collect pollen

        whose voice was like honey
my grandfather

        whose life is a mirror to me

by Luwela Esube
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Resettled in Akron, Ohio

Bio: During the First Congo War in 1996, Luwela Esube fled Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) for Tanzania, where he lived for 20 years in refugee camps. He recently came to the United States and is working at the International Institute of Akron as an interpreter. During a poetry workshop led by staff members from Kent State’s Wick Poetry Center, he wrote the above poem “to show how my grandfather was important to me.” 

“[In my village] my grandfather was the one to give the last decision in case of any problem, because everyone trusted him. He was kind to everybody; he used to welcome visitors. I carry the memory of my grandfather. Here in Akron, I don’t have relatives, I’m [by] myself. But if I can behave here as he taught me, I think I will get friends, because I will show my kindness to them. I’m just helping, as did my grandfather in former time.” 

See a video of Mr. Esube reading his poem.

Illustrator: Zuzana Kubišová ’17

Share Your Voice!

In partnership with the Wick Poetry CenterKent State Magazine features a poem by one of our readers in each issue. To submit your poem, visit, click “Submit,” and label it “Magazine Entry.”

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POSTED: Friday, February 2, 2018 - 11:53am
UPDATED: Friday, February 9, 2018 - 4:18pm