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“no one leaves home unless
home is the mouth of a shark”

—Warshan Shire

We remember each detail. The hallway, lightless. How the floor rebelled.
The tiny room at the end, claustrophobic with its pink everything. The story
of breadcrumbs, how birds ate the way home.

When the fires come we take what we can—
candles, blankets, one small doll
But we leave ourselves behind
in the dust under the bed, even as it blazes
and in the small corner where the cat sleeps
we leave a hairbrush
 
We hide anywhere we can—
cornfields, alleys, that one long night
we slip into, as if it is a flowing robe
In its sleeves we leave fragments of prayers
in its pocket, a tooth wrapped in cloth

No map for this. The geography is too cruel
mountains have no footholds
the ocean bullies us, finds each hole in our boat
we scale a wall, and then another appears
we have never seen so many backs.

by  BABO KAMEL
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