Ode to My Homegirls

smelling of orange rind    of cardamom
 most beautiful girls in the world    wake up bitch
  we’re getting waffles    you can keep crying

but you’re going out    my marriages
 my alibis    my bright & hardy stalks
  of protea    & all i know of love i learned

at thirteen    dialing basma’s home phone
 by heart    to three-way call whatever boy
  so that weeks later    when the phone bill came

only basma’s familiar number beside the time stamp
 clearing my name    basma herself staying awake
  for hours    to hang up the phone after

you who send pictures of your rashes
 to the group text    & long voice notes
  from the bathtub your laughter echoing against the tiles

you who scatter the world’s map    piling into
 cheap buses & budget airlines    four of us asleep
  in my dorm bed    six of us overflowing

my studio apartment    false lashes for weeks after
 like commas in my every pillowcase    you clog my toilet
  & admit it    you text me screenshots

from the gucci fashion show    getting rich
so i can get u this    & when i lived alone
  & that man followed me

one night home from the six train
 up lexington    & into the hallway
  tried for hours to break open my front door

you took turns from all your cities    & stayed
 overnight with me on the phone    for three days
  snoring & murmuring in your sleep

“Ode to My Homegirls” from GIRLS THAT NEVER DIE: POEMS by Safia Elhillo, copyright © 2022 by Safia Elhillo. Used by permission of One World, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved.