Fluke by Any Other Name Is a Flight Number

when they first came over nobody knew what finland was or where it was or what to even wear on the flight you passed the medical examination & stood there glorious as a beggar as the amreekan doctor laughed after the HIV test & said you’re good to go next thing you know it’s colder than positivism & they’re in tampere home of the swollen-bellied & coincidentally whereon a crisp december midmorning much like the day of their arrival lenin first met stalin at a bolshevik conference which is neither here nor there but more pressingly is not where they would rather be if given the choice which is unlikely considering the oceanic gulf between choice & options between affection & affect put another way on arrival they still couldn’t locate their new home on a map finnair could only do so much despite regularly being ranked as one of the safest operating airlines with its last fatal accident occurring in 1963 the year of diet coke & four little girls & malcolm’s body in michigan his spirit in bandung in nairobi in paris in saigon don’t be shocked when I say I was in prison you’re still in prison that’s what America means prison oh for such delicious clarity the warm butter of his rage a speech later sampled by public enemy then recycled as part of the soundtrack to the video game sonic rush a cobalt blue & white hedgehog the same colour of the finnish flag a force unable to catch up with itself the perfect metaphor for modernity & the ache of a wrist held in anticipation for the conveyer belt to return their luggage if not their country both will do both they carry on their shoulders but only one will weigh them down

from Doing the Most with the Least (Goldsmiths Press, 2019), © Momtaza Mehri 2019, 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 ...