(Title after a line from Momtaza Mehri’s poem ‘Mouthwash’).
‘A home is only as safe as flesh’ – Dionne Brand
You share a border with the Uber driver. That makes you kin —here. His margins
reach over yours and continue running over. You notice how time draws an axis
over your necks. You give the fisherman along this coast another name
because of it. He opens the glove compartment, throws his service papers.
Kismayo, 1973. He recounts entering the city, possibly the women,
but doesn’t confess. You glance to your side and recognise only your reflection.
It’s late in Nairobi and you don’t know the city well enough to confirm
he’s driving you home. You’re wearing this burgundy book, a life jacket.