Other

I nod too much and my face is

hardened plastic.

Is this a smile or a grimace?

My frozen face is twitching

to relax back into neutral.  

She tells me about Marrakech

and her French textbooks from her school days where she learned about La Rochelle. 

La Rochelle means to me another base

that we have settled into.

Driving through Tangier and Marseille,

bleeding our sanguine souls

into a mould that will

never hold our shape. 

La Rochelle is where

Mami seasons her Tagine

in a greying high rise flat,

where she stacks duvet covers

in clear plastic zip bags

and where she shops for dried mint leaves

at the local market. 

What does it feel like to live in a country

that was made for your wide nose and stung lips?

Where iron skies reflect your character

and the diction knocks you back into last week?

She is sweet when she talks,

kind, sincere even.

But I’m struggling to hear her

from behind these antennae.

‘Yes, yes’ I nod to another. 

‘Of course’ I smile at another. 

All the while antennas coil around

this disappearing smoke.

Uncle Jeff tells me about a place

that I will love at first sight.

Ghana is opportunity he says.

‘You can start anything there’.

‘You have to go’

Ms Addo chimes in

from the migrant support centre.  

And so I dream

of forgoing the ‘otherness’ I will feel in Ghana,

of dissolving the coiling mass around my body

under the glaring sun

and releasing this bated breath. 

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