open your mouth for the gulls to see your gore-striped teeth,

wade the river and tongue the taste of our water’s oar-ripened sweep,

breathe your breaths of our shared air, and peaceful sleep this peace,


for the Nile is a pulse and a vein, and the black earth is the gut of the world,


but know

that though

you were born in bone-skin armor,

and born the bank-king, basking,


i shall take your banks to make my armor,

and i shall climb your tongue like a ladder,


and your skin will not avail you and your jaws will not avail you nor will the acid in your gullet.