Citronnelle

When you drink citronnelle, you think of sunshine

of dust on your small feet

of washing them in the beautiful river where your father was born and buried

of golden-eyed goats staked along the roadside

of wind that rushed at your skirts

of bread and spicy mamba knotted in a printed kerchief

of the ache of mountains and more mountains

of boys with machetes who watched you walk past

of zaboka and kenep overhead

of the lace in her doorway

of seeing your own face when she bent over you

of her work-rough hands twisting grass blades into a pot

of fragrant steam

of her standing with a cup in the doorway

of lemon and ginger

of knowing that it was summertime and she loved you

as you sip your tea alone in this cold house.

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