The care package arrived from my sister
in South Dakota to a postal box in Kigali, carried
on a bus to our farming village of Gachurabwenge.
Our answers to email pleas for hand sanitizer
and protein. Inside, packets of jerky, tuna, and Spam.
We laughed, recalled lunch plates of Spam and rice
on Kauai and the time I won a can of Spam for a haiku
contest. It seemed a joke, but we tucked it into our clothes
trunk where mice couldn’t get it. A week later, after a tough
day of Kinyarwanda lessons and the trail of t-shirted kids
shouting Muzungu! Ndashaka amafaranga! (White person!
I want money!) Late afternoon, before our host started a fire
to cook the daily rice and beans we’d had twice a day for seven
weeks, we closed the thin curtain, locked our bedroom door. While
we sat on our flea-infested bed, we first read aloud every word
on the wrapper as if it were a greeting card from home, then tore
the foil seal with ceremony, shared the single salty slice bite-by-bite.
I want to remember my husband’s voice so kindly offering me
the first taste as if our wedding vows years ago included: to eat
Spam in sub-Saharan Africa when you turn to each other, gaunt.