Sierra Leone, Elephant & Castle

We sit

Chicken and chips

Ketchup, mayonaise

Interspersing our talks of Winnie M, your mother and mine

With pound coins dished out for egg machines

Little people running in and out

To the fruit stall, colours brilliant and beyond beauty

Under the strip lights, across from Tesco

We drink

Coffee, warm milk, sugar

You speak

Jolting stories of escape and hands chopped off

Miracles and coincidences that keep you alive

In Sierra Leone

I nod, dumb tongued, numb, stupid

In between small talk, school run, baby feeding

You speak

Of rape as a passing occurence in this flight

(Our children play in between the legs of shoppers, shrieking with delight)

Security guards glance disapproving at the mess we’ll leave

But this narrative is urgent

Shop man blasts out Bollywood hits and the Black Eyed Peas

We dance, as you do

Time passes via the subways

Heading home

In Elephant and Castle

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