I want to hold the truth between us
but there’s no currency for love in memories like ours.

‘Describe the home where you grew up’
I’m asked on the form and all I remember are stairs.

Bodies slumped like burlap sacks shifting under my feet
counting in English, Arabic, Greek

until I am back pacing on that balcony holding my father’s hand
as he shows me the world for the first and last time.

“Forget the view, stay close” he says, so I built ladders in our silence
tunnels until it was behind me.

“Love swallows to protect” mother says
as one by one we went missing.

I want to hold the truth between us
to survive love without running.

Part of SAWTI Zine Issue 1

Illustration by Nawal

K. Eltinaé is a Sudanese poet of Nubian descent, his work has appeared in World Literature Today, The African American Review, About Place Journal, Xavier Review, among others. A selection of his poems were shortlisted for the 2019 Brunel International African Poetry Prize.