for cousin Gedion, who drove us to Massawa
Two sisters ride down with us.
It is liberation day in Massawa.
The older sister is the color of injera; her teeth are big
& stuck out.
The younger sister is a cinnamon stick.
Their almond eyes are the same.
Ink black hair falls beautiful down both their backs.
I see that you love one of them & change my mind
many times about who I think it is.
Months later, I will show their photographs to my father
who will laugh & say he knows.
“It is this one,” he will say, surely, pointing
to the woman whose teeth stay, tame, in her mouth.
But what man would choose a woman
whose mouth looks stronger than his hands?
Know, Cousin, I pray there is love
between you & the older one
whose teeth might be bullets of ivory;
I imagine from this mouth:
ax equal to lace, the yellow & lick
of a jar filled with
the sweet of stinging bees.