In Philly

Words by Hiwot Adilow


there’s a cafe on chestnut street

named after the kingdom that holds

both sides of my family.


i wash my hands in kaffa’s bathroom

before finding my way back home


dad’s house once flooded

with a spicy air. mom,

still in his kitchen, covered

her hair to keep from

catching the tackling scents

of shinquirt & gomen—


the onions have burned me to tears.


i shut my eyes & cry my way back home,

into my grandmother’s kitchen.

she sits, gabi around her shoulders,

rocking as the stew simmers done.


in my dreams we eat from one plate,

practicing the art of gursha.


we beg love to eat from our fingertips.


Hiwot Adilow is a writer, among other things. Catch a sneak preview of her unabridged journals here.

To go to the cafe on Chestnut Street, click here for details