In light of what my aunt calls
the Arabic texture of my hair,
I’m Abdi outside the only shop
selling tamarind balls, Irish Moss,
Supermalt in decent quantities.
It is not enough to say I miss
the smell of cassava roasted
over open coals, expeditions
in want of Tilapia, Capenta,
assorted meats of questionable
provenance. How much, auntie?
Barter and bluff and rough hands
of stallholders glazed to a deep
blue shameless blackness that is
consigned, now, to another life
before this one of middle class
white boys in reggae bands, who
love roots and culture as if their
love is enough to know the code
that some of us live and die by.
At least these boys who call me
Abdi seem to be fond of Abdi.
They ask why I don't come
round no more, what it's like
in Leeds and maybe, today,
I can be Abdi and this shop
can be all the home I need.