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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