by Alixa Brobbey

When we meet, it is Christmas in Accra but feels like summer.
I wear short sleeves, high skirts; you, sweat-stained white shirts.

We exchange yellow rings in my father’s yard, under a lonely tree.
Its nasal humming haunts the tropical air. We laugh. Because

I cannot catch the flying, yellow disc. No matter how hard I jump,
I never reach your heights by two inches. And mere months

Place your day of candles ahead of mine. We are moon and sun.
Opposite ends of forever’s seesaw. I cannot teach my melanin

To blush under starlight and burn when nervous. Your red hair
Will never grow like mine—in tangled, gravity-defying vines.

So much unspoken in silent handshakes. Questions hang
In the damp air, like ripened mangoes on the brownish stump.

But I don’t like the taste of the bitter fruit. I really don’t like
The taste of the bitter fruit. Don’t like cutting them open.

We cannot play these childish games forever, so elder
Friend, if I bring a knife, will you cut us bite-sized pieces?

We can sit under the tree, trading stories about my scars
And your tasteless lunchtimes in Lone Peak’s shadow.

Teach me how to catch the sun; I’ll confess I wish I loved you.
I am sorry I have nothing to offer but this strange overripe fruit.

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