Cover Photo: Ablade Glover, Busy Bodies, 2014. Oil on canvas, 127 x 101 cm.
Ablade Glover, Busy Bodies, 2014. Oil on canvas, 127 x 101 cm.

The Wailing

“There is no greater insult than to have your death ignored.”

The EconomistNadia, come and read this article out loud to me. Let’s hear what’s happening in the world!”

“Crêpes! Crêpes pour tout le monde aujourd’hui!”

This is the story of how we begin to remember. This is the powerful pulsing of love in the vein. Did you hear that line, Nadia? Did you hear it? He is a poet, Paul Simon, a true poet.”


This last time, he had been in the hospital for a month. The ambulance came to take him away on a Saturday. The arrival of an ambulance was so much a part of our lives that no one woke me up to tell me. I stumbled down the stairs for breakfast as usual, half-blind without my glasses, wearing my fuzzy slippers and pajamas.

Buongiorno, signorina.”


Nadia Owusu’s first book, Aftershocks, was published by Simon and Schuster in 2021. She is the recipient of a 2019 Whiting Award. Her lyric essay chapbook, So Devilish a Fire, won the Atlas Review chapbook series. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in The New York Times, Washington Post’s The Lily, the Literary Review, Electric Literature, Catapult, and others. Owusu grew up in Rome, Addis Ababa, Kampala, Dar es Salaam, Kumasi, and London. She is an Associate Director at Living Cities, an economic racial justice organization, and lives in Brooklyn.