My parents - Muhammad Imady & Mildred Elaine Rippey - Nairobi, 1973

You were prepared.

You had practised the moves,

Rehearsed the scene.

First, you would offer to hang her coat,

Then invoke a resemblance to Ava —

Dark chestnut on apricot cream.

At some point

You would light her cigarette

And she would understand,

As you accidentally brushed her hand,

That this is simply an invitation

To have coffee,

To forget her exam,

To miss her bus,

To depart her world,

To get on a boat,

To carry your name,

To live and die

On a twilight train

Circling a blessed forsaken land.

But you were prepared,

And you knew,

Somehow you just knew,

That she would understand.