For  ح, who danced himself out of the war with jackal laughter, in love with a different woman every night to wake up alive in the morning.

For  ر, who filled up her basement with my books in Omdurman when I went back the first time and found no home to rest in.

For  و, who could not dance but made the earth move with smiles, waiting till takeoff to toast with me on a plane out of Khartoum full of men and women who judged and cursed our freedom.

For  ف, whose half-closed eyes ruined every school photo, loving everything at five percent in case it disappeared.

For  أ, and for the girl he loved whose parents wouldn´t  claim her body at the morgue and bury her because they were found together.

For  ل, your cave embraces from the blue city, for almonds and dates and shade from every passing word for every fruit that hangs and act of love that travels timeless as a seed.

For  ج, who died at twenty-six, missile launched by the regime into his bedroom, for his family whose grief was muted  when they named him a martyr.

For  ر, whose laughter still rings in my ears though she died at a teaching hospital. Whose day came when glucose and saline were confused by a doctor living in a country where death is never questioned.

Each of these letters
drag me back to a place
I can’t believe I survived.

Part of SAWTI Zine Issue 1
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.