Broomhall

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.