my girl is a pause given breath. my girl was born a crutch. my girl leaves a residue trail in the bath, thick want to coat tiles. my girl calls her stretchmarks a tally of dissent. my girl dips herself in vaseline. eats chicken fingers on egyptian cotton, buys the biggest bed possible. CNN will make her want to drown in it. my girl comes prepared. every sunday, her fine cheek hairs tingle, my girl rises like a defendant. walks to the nearest shop, returns with a Lebara calling card. my girl got a roll call of small deaths lining her pocket, a country spurting at the back of her throat. my girl is impossible.
my girl is centuries old, soft and suspended in an amber
of her own making.
Brother, my metaphors sink to the floor like grieving women.
I have no use for them.
Left a memo between my shoulder blades
‘go gentle or go home’. I know you’ll ignore it anyway.
I’m only certain of taxes and the death held in your eyes, like a cut rosebud.
Olive oil in my hair to run down your wrists,
if I keep to this script,
if I let you swallow
the whole egg yolk of my heart.
Swing from under my lashes, let me blink away
this big, bad world. Let me dream, at least.
Imperialists come in tanks/ or tank-tops/ sit across the breakfast table/ and occupy you fully.
MOMTAZA MEHRI is a poet currently in conversation with biomedicine, inheritance and her brand of transnational baggage. Her work has been featured and is forthcoming in Puerto Del Sol, DAZED, Sukoon, Bone Bouquet, VINYL and Poetry International. She is a fellow of The Complete Works national programme and has been shortlisted for the 2016 Brunel African Poetry Prize. Her chapbook sugah.lump.prayer will be published as part of the New Generation African Poets series. She also co-edits the digital platform Diaspora Drama and contributes to a variety of international zines.