They come to me. Two flights up the stairs,
above the kebab spot, opposite the stripped flesh
the butchers. See how they run to me.
A gorgeous cloud of need. I promise nothing. No refunds.
Leave your guarantees at the door.

Line ‘em up. I turn ‘em into water.
Ever seen a man wearing hope like a second skin?
Rid me of this thing. Rid me of me.

My battered Casio times their nightly deliverance
and my hourly rate.
You don’t believe me. I laugh at all your logic.
Pop that bone back in its place.
Show me your world where bodies belong to themselves.
Don’t worry. I’ll wait.

The jinn in the mind.
The gin in the chipped mug.
The world sucking your marrow dry
With its single chipped tooth.

I know.
I confirm your worst fears. Swallow your binaries.
Crunch Newton’s Granny Smiths between my purple gums. Here
we are always falling for something or someone.

Your electrode pulse tugging on a dead frog’s legs?
My kind of loving raises the dead. Or at least
The dead-eyed filing into my office. Their names and payments
on a Ryman’s receipt book.
I cough. From the overhead speakers. .
Take the mic. His Word always needs an Intro.


Mic check.

 One, two.


Momtaza Mehri is a poet, essayist and co-editor of the digital platform Diaspora Drama. Her work is featured and forthcoming in DAZED, Sukoon, Bone Bouquet, VINYL and Poetry International. She is a Complete Works Fellow and has been shortlisted for the Brunel African Poetry Prize and the Plough Prize. Her chapbook sugah.lump.prayer will be published as part of the New Generation African Poets series, edited by Kwame Dawes and Chris Abani. Poems from this submission will appear in TEN: POETS OF THE NEW GENERATION, to be published by BloodAxe Books in 2017. She also edits Diaspora Drama, a digital platform showcasing international immigrant art.