Astona Giriteka-Nahimana

Astona Nahimana was born in Burundi in 1990 and moved to the UK as a young child. She is a poet and a lifelong student of life. She has the uncanny ability to give form to her feelings, in the hope that it may help others navigate theirs in an uncertain world. She now lives in Ottawa, Canada with her wife Myrinthia.


The last of autumn's leaves has fallen.

Pinging off the branch it was attached, it has to return to the soil from which it was born. Mother nature's sometimes harsh rulings, leave you feeling like something has been stolen.

It's so hard to endure her balance but we shall all return to the earth from which we were born.

In the summer the leaves gave us shade from the sun. They slowed the rain when we sought shelter.

They helped us breathe. and now the tree is bare.


The soil will feed and the tree will grow strong, for the leaves have given, even in death.


The insurmountable difficulty that is reinvention, in company with the limitations placed on you by others, but sanctioned by yourself, is emphasised when you're being watched.

The revolting viscid feeling of silliness and embarrassment touching you in unwarranted places. The irk of its distrusting fingers flicking your lip.

I want to wash it off me. Dirtied by my insecurities.

How did these voices get so loud? Why are you so unkind to yourself? I want to be new.

But I’m scared someone will laugh at me.

But I don’t want to cause myself any more suffering, I have to do something about it.


Identity is so deeply woven in sentiment.

Rooted by ideals that we inherit, at first. We continue to develop them until they are who we are.

Who I am.

Yet mine is not a statement, but three words suspended in a sentence, that brews things that I am yet to understand.

Things that I am yet to withstand.

I envy those who affirm with confidence and clarity just who they are.

These are the fabled stories of a wandering soul. Nuanced in the pitter-patter dance of self discovery.

Cursed with the endless quest to answer those famed words.


“I hate it when you..” are the words that hurl out, falling clumsily into our laps. We take them and shove them in each others’ faces.

        They barge past us, pushing us aside and expanding the gaping space between me and you.

Once installed.

We stock up in our armoury of attacks.

        Using petty words with sticky fingers. Surely, this will only serve to steal joy from our souls.

The people we know become trapped in these strangers.

“You’re always...”

We abandon restraint.

        Two separate fingers pointing in opposite directions.

We trample on each other's hearts.

We tear-all that we have painstakingly

built-apart in a bout of blunt finite moments. A noiseless vacuum besets us..

Only pride resides in this house now.


A subtle cracking and soft tearing as the butterfly emerges from its cocoon.

Shaking free of the bounds of who she used to be.

Head up to the sky, the sun kisses her face.

She spreads her wings and they glisten in the rays.


Soaking in her very first summer’s day.

She is new.