The smell of rain forever lives
in my memory, triggering home-
sickness through an endless river
of aqueous nostalgia.
In the shower, I mask the scent
of rain and wash away the muddy
trail of tears from my face.
I struggle to grasp my mother’s
tongue, hanged over my shoulder
as I wash my back. My trunk
extends far beyond my reach
and the sun-dried silt never leaves
my skin. I call to my mother, but
she does not hear and she struggles
to read my lips. Every word
that I mouth looks like the Congo
and my accent sounds like the Nile.
There’s an ocean between
our bodies and not a hyphen
long enough to unite us. On each
strand of that ocean, lies my name
and I live in between.