Khartoum In Summer

Unpaved street caked in dust

Three clay buildings stand side by side

Baking in the sun

 

Sand grains line every surface

Turn the city yellow

Breathing dust here, not oxygen

 

Kiosk with its expired products —

Grandfather sends the boys for bread

 

Al Fayhaa, this neighborhood is called

Strange and familiar

First time seeing home 

 

House full of cousins

Laughter and card games

Call from the kitchen:

Dinner time

 

Fans spin slowly and suddenly the generator is silent

Aunt is ready with her flashlight —

Power-outs are a regular occurrence

 

The heat is palpable

Even at night

It sticks to skin and suffocates

Melting the sand

That has seeped into your mouth

 

Kataaha — sand storm

It sweeps in suddenly

An orange blanket for a yellow backdrop

 

Laughter continues

The world is silent outside the dust-lined window

No sign of life as sand creates a rainbow arc

Of yellow

 

Generator whirs

Fans synchronize and spin

Generator stops

 

This is home

 

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