A Comparative History of Fire

aflame   aflush  whole hearts    aflutter

we are ravishingly undone

cleansed with new meaning (if only for this moment) if

only for ourselves

hope-snatching & dutty

boukman’s prayer at bois (a girl can dream) we

are liquid-limbed sparking ground under feet

bathing in bathos between digital mo(u)rnings &

bookmarked recipes

neither meme nor mammy our

sisters are slick-braided & afoot

erzulies of the ends    of the endless

summer’s tart taste swells their tongues

they pose with the fresh carcass of a police car

Wish You Were Here!

riot as postcard

as historical post-date

bury your demands as soon as they are made (post-haste)

flamecaster fatimans we mourn who you have had to be

teach the poets what poetry is

what it could be bussa bussa

buss case (case being the world) being

the condition

being the contours of mass misery

moving        always moving

masked & beautifully inadequate

ancestors file their manicured nails

shoot dice     share bad jokes

eat perfectly round peaches

they have earned the right to be left alone

the luxury of choosing

when to strike      & when to

rest watch us watch crackling screens

in peeling alleyways    from our lonely lodgings

our parochial plantations   our respective babylons

unfreedom is so boring

we bear it like ants tortured by bored children

an ugly brooch of an inheritance

a lit match licks      the lip of a field

by its light    we undress all pretensions

what others call our worst    is usually our


we own everything we can see

& nothing we can touch



uncollected poem, © Momtaza Mehri 2022, used by permission of the author.

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Momtaza Mehri is a Somali-British poet and essayist. She grew up in the Middle East, and is currently based in London. She began ...