my parents’ first meeting in a refugee camp
he saw my mother in the scar-city-brown hair and yellow dusted-down dresswith lips too cracked to hold down a languageand he said: you can have some milkand she said: only if the tongue can tasteand he said: in the war desire isa bird face-to-face with glassand she said: i'm hungry for a homeand he said: even bones thirstand she said: my ankle is rusty from waitingand he said: pick the soles and follow meand she said: an undone shoelace canno she said: i'm looking for my fatherin every man—is he here?
Copyright © 2022 by Bhion Achimba.
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission.
Bhion Achimba is the pen name of the Nigerian writer Chibuihe Obi Achimba. He is a poet, essayist, and Founding-Editor of Dgëku Magazine. He served as the 2019 Harvard University Scholar At-Risk Fellow, a Visiting Poet in its English Department, and the 2020 Summer Visiting Artist at the Oregon Institute for Creative Research. Bhion has been awarded grants by PEN America, PEN International, Freedom House, and St. Botolph Club Foundation, which named him one of the 2021 Emerging Artists in New England. His writing has been published or forthcoming in The New York Times, The Paris Review, The Harvard Review, Poet Lore, Foreign Policy Magazine, Guernica Magazine, and several other prints and online journals. He teaches at Brown University.
Since its founding 1953, The Paris Review has been America’s preeminent literary quarterly, dedicated to discovering the best new voices in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. The Review’s renowned Writers at Work series of interviews is one of the great landmarks of world literature. Hailed by the New York Times as “the most remarkable interviewing project we possess,” the series received a George Polk Award and has been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. With the December 2016 redesign of the Review’s website, the complete digital archive of everything we’ve published since 1953 is available to subscribers. In November 2017, the Review gave voice to nearly sixty-five years of writing and interviews with the launch of its first-ever podcast, featuring a blend of classic stories and poems, vintage interview recordings, and new work and original readings by the best writers of our time.