Lelyanotleyla

Kenya

Faith.

Message from Writer

Don't forget why you started

Published Work

Child Narrator

My Bones Will Know

"Your Baba was a good man," my grandmother said softly, staring into the fire. The fire cast shadows on her face, making her look like the shadow faced ogres that were said to have terrorized these lands years before our community was even formed.

"He made mistakes, but he was good. A strong man," she said and glanced at me from the corner of her eye. Even though she learned English way before my parents were born, the words still fell from her lips and crashed into my ears like her mouth was rejecting them.

"Your Baba was sent to fight a war that wasn't his. A war he would have avoided if he just stayed home, but he had itchy feet. He couldn't stand to stay in one place for more than one harvest," she said, this time looking straight at me. Grandmother always spoke like she was telling a story, she blamed it on the storyteller's tongue. She...

The Semester Challenge

Ramona stood at the door, fidgeting with the dismantled doorbell in her hands. Blowing a stray strand of hair from her face, she raised her hand and knocked on the door. Holding her breath in anticipation, she quickly stilled her hands and hid them behind her back. Loud footsteps pounded on the floor right behind the door, causing her to stiffen up and start looking around for a place to hide in panic.

It was too late to hide. The door suddenly swung open and a hulking figure filled the doorway, gazing curiously down at her petite form. 

"Hello," Ramona squeaked out, sticking arm out to the man in greeting.

"Hey, I'm Reuben," he replied in a deep voice that vaguely resembled a rumble. Taking her hand in his, he shook it curtly but firmly.

"I'm Ramona. I uhh... found something that I think belongs to you," Ramona said, slowly removing her other hand from behind her back, handing the...

My December Competition 2019

Sometimes I Wish That We Never Got This Far

My 11th December.
Lilongwe, Malawi.
Status: homesick.


My father worked in Malawi for long enough that my younger sister only saw him as the stranger I called my father. She flinched at his affection and shied away from his gaze. I think the heartbreak I always saw on his face when she rejected him was what pushed him to suggest we spend December in Lilongwe with him. 

I missed homeBack in Kenya, December was always in my parents' village. I knew my grandfather was choosing the cows and goats meant for Christmas while my grandmother segregated the chickens she would fatten up for the feast. My mind idly drifted back to the last December I spent back home with family. 

"You've grown fatter," my cousin Becky said, not with any vicious intent, but as an observation. 

"You're only jealous cause I'm taller than you now. Anyways, it won't stop me from being the first to reach the...

My December Competition 2019

Sometimes I Wish That We Never Got This Far

My 11th December.
Lilongwe, Malawi.
Status: homesick.

My father worked in Malawi for long enough that my younger sister only saw him as the stranger I called my father. She flinched at his affection and shied away from his gaze. I think the heartbreak I always saw on his face when she rejected him was what pushed him to suggest we spend December in Lilongwe with him. 

I missed homeBack in Kenya, December was always in my parents' village. I knew my grandfather was choosing the cows and goats meant for Christmas while my grandmother segregated the chickens she would fatten up for the feast. My mind idly drifted back to the last December I spent climbing trees in competition with my cousins. 

"You've grown fatter," my cousin Becky said, not with any vicious intent, but as an observation. 

"You're only jealous cause I'm taller than you now. Anyway, it won't stop me from being the first...

wait for me

We lay on our backs gazing into the unending abyss of the night sky. It was overwhelming to say the least.

"We should start heading back," she whispered, turning on her side to face me. The softly spoken words hung in the air. I closed my eyes to ponder on them. Every word she has ever spoken in the English language has been dipped into years of African culture, soaked in it's languages' gruff undertones and thrown out into the world as the ultimate rejection of a language she knows is not hers to speak. 

"Just a few more minutes," I replied, turning on my side to face her. Her skin took a blue undertone in the moonlight. In that moment I was certain she could bleed starlight.

"You do know the stars aren't going anywhere? You can still see them from your bedroom window," she said grinning at me, "God hangs each one in its place, night after night,...

wait for me

We lay on our backs gazing into the unending abyss of the night sky. It was overwhelming to say the least.

"We should start heading back," she whispered, turning on her side to face me. The softly spoken words hung in the air and
I closed my eyes to pondered on them. Every word she has ever spoken in the English language has been dipped into years of African culture, soaked in it's languages' gruff undertones and thrown out into the world as the ultimate rejection of a language she knows is not hers to speak. 

"Just a few more minutes," I replied, turning on my side to face her.

"You do know the stars aren't going anywhere? You can still see them from your bedroom window," she said grinning at me amusedly, "God hangs each one in its place, night after night, for people like you to adore. Although I can't imagine how they never bore you."

Sometimes she...

Love At First Sight

The little girl stared at me pensively as if she could read the sins on my skin.
I smiled at her, which she returned with a gaze way too hardened for a child of six.

"Amani is a delight. She was brought to us just a few months ago. Although, I don't think I'd advise you to adopt her as your first child. Wouldn't a baby be easier?" the social worker asked my sister, to which she responded to with an arched eyebrow.

"What is that supposed to mean?" She asked, finally taking her eyes off the dark skinned girl on the other side of the glass.

"I just mean... We don't really know what she's been through. She refuses to talk to therapists, or anyone really, and I just don't think she'd make a right... fit," the woman replied in a flustered way, motioning to my sister and I. I didn't need to be a genius to know she...

I DID NOT DIE FOR THIS

I did not jump off ships, 
for my daughters to feel ugly under my captor's gaze.

I did not hang in the courtyards of my masters,
for my sons to cower under their regime.

I did not get shot in the fields for yearning to taste freedom,
to see my children stare into the barrels of the same guns.

And I know I did not educate my children for freedom,
for my descendants to educate theirs for slavery.

I took the marsh for them to take a stand.

I fought for freedom because I know royalty doesn't stop
running through our veins because the white man extended his kingdom.

His mistake was not seeing our power,
I did not die for my children to be blind to it too.

I did not die for this.

Child Narrator

My Bones Will Know

"Your Baba was a good man," my grandmother said softly, staring into the fire. The fire cast shadows on her face, making her look like the shadow faced ogres that were said to have terrorized these lands years before our community was even formed.

"He made mistakes, but he was good. A strong man," she said and glanced at me from the corner of her eye. Even though she learned English way before my parents were born, the words still fell from her lips and crashed into my ears like her mouth was rejecting them.

"Your Baba was sent to fight a war that wasn't his. A war he would have avoided if he just stayed home, but he had itchy feet. He couldn't stand to stay in one place for more than one harvest," she said, this time looking straight at me. Grandmother always spoke like she was telling a story, she blamed it on the storyteller's tongue. She...

I DID NOT DIE FOR THIS

I did not jump off ships, 
for my daughters to feel ugly under my captor's gaze.

I did not hang in the courtyards of my masters,
for my sons to cower under their regime.

I did not get shot in the fields for yearning to taste freedom,
for my children to stare into the barrels of the same guns.

And I know I did not educate my children for freedom,
for my descendants to educate theirs for slavery.

I took the marsh for them to take a stand.

I fought for freedom because I know royalty doesn't stop
running through our veins because the white man extended his kingdom.

His mistake was not seeing our power,
I did not die for my children to be blind to it too.

I did not die for this.

Child Narrator

My Bones Will Know

"Your baba was a good man," my grandmother said softly, staring into the fire. The fire cast shadows on her face, making her look like the shadow faced ogres that were said to have terrorized these lands years before our community was even formed.

"He made mistakes, but he was good. A strong man," she said and glanced at me from the corner of her eye. Even though she learned English way before my parents were born, the words still fell from her lips and crashed into my ears like her mouth was rejecting them.

"Your baba was sent to fight a war that wasn't his. A war he would have avoided if he just stayed home, but he had itchy feet. He couldn't stand to stay in one place for more than one harvest," she said, this time looking straight at me. Grandmother always spoke like she was telling a story, she blamed it on the storyteller's tongue. She...

I DID NOT DIE FOR THIS

I did not jump off ships, 
for my daughters to feel ugly under my captor's gaze.

I did not hang in the courtyards of my masters,
for my sons to cower under their regime.

I did not get shot in the fields for yearning to taste freedom,
for my children to stare into the barrels of the same guns.

And I know I did not educate my children for freedom,
for my descendants to educate theirs for slavery,

because I took the marsh for them to take a stand.

I fought for freedom because I know royalty doesn't stop
running through our veins because the white man extended his kingdom.

His mistake was not seeing our power,
I did not die for my children to be blind to it too.

I did not die for this.

Flash Fiction Competition 2019

Boys Will Be Boys

The first punch sent me reeling, more out of shock than pain. I couldn't tell what hurt more, my throbbing jaw or the look of disgust on his face. I've never seen tenderness morph into shame so fast. A flash of guilt flickered on his face. 

"He deserves more than that for what he just did," his father growled at him.

The uncertainty I had just seen slid off as the second punch came in. This time, the punch hurt more. I wondered what his father would say if he knew his son kissed me first.

Flash Fiction Competition 2019

Boys Will Be Boys

The first punch sent me reeling, more out of shock than pain. I couldn't tell what hurt more, my throbbing jaw or the look of disgust on his face. He took a step closer which sent me scrambling backwards. A flash of guilt flickered on his face. 

"He deserves more than that for what he just did," his father growled at him.

The uncertainty I had just seen slid off as fast as the second punch came in. This time, the punch hurt more. I wondered what his father would say if he knew his son kissed me first.

I DID NOT DIE FOR THIS

I did not jump off ships, 
for my daughters to feel ugly under my captor's gaze.

I did not hang in the courtyards of my masters,
for my sons to cower under their regime.

I did not get shot in the fields for yearning to taste freedom,
for my children to stare into the barrels of the same guns.

And I know I did not educate my children for freedom,
for my descendants to educate theirs for slavery,

because I took the marsh* for them to take a stand.

I fought for freedom because I know royalty doesn't stop
running through our veins because the white man extended his kingdom.

His mistake was not seeing our power,
I did not die for my children to be blind to it too.

I did not die for this.