if we could have those same nights
in Pemba, years ago, when you were younger,
the black in your eyes pure, absolved —
we study those eyes, their walls of coral,
marine fish, years and years of water’s mighty
ability to curve, its infinite mercy,
in essence to slowly destroy
that which it renders beautiful —
your ability to gaze back into yourself,
to abandon your body without apology.
if we could take back those nights,
learning yoruba through the endless mercy
we came to call your body.


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