bicycle spokes

talk of knitting needles forged from bicycle wheels’ spokes in Nairobi

her stories repeat and consume me wholly

her intonation changes,
if only I had a brain which could contain more than just fragments
of multiple languages I’ve experienced in depth
I cannot accept that she accepts her own mortality
perhaps I’m naive, selfish
but stories are told with such fond vitality
illustrating a city in vivid sounds, shades and scents
decades distance our post scarcity
a different kind of abundance
unquenchable and skewed
limitless wants, normalized greed
she reads and watches over and over
society drowning in itself
flooding our home
as she becomes weary of the next ones’s motives
I anger as they dilute her trust
there is such vitality
the stories repeat
repeat and consume me wholly
my only reference
beautiful accounts in broken English
dappled in Gujarati
seasoned with Swahili
embellished with pride.

Aji-ma કવિતા

Two plaits hang delicately

reaching the base of her fractured spine

four foot ten with the resilience of a mountain

which, like her, must erode

and transform with time

though, this is in the morning

before the daily-worn armor of tracksuits and trainers

before the plaits wrap and entwine

and create her crown of security and strength

she faces each day in each way it comes

ever-more aware of the cold, yet, still resting in the northern sun

layers intact

the garden swing sways with feet on chairs rested

long silences lead me to wonder what the right words are to say

so, instead we sit side-by-side and gaze at the horses across the stream

parent and foal