Shrink-wrap your pauses.  

Interrupt with borrowed proverbs. 

Choose an identity crisis worthy of your ancestors. 

Don’t drag them from their cosmic stations 

into the clammy pretenses of polite conversation. Your angst is deliciously embarrassing. 

Your fears may be subtitled but you are, at least, in the business of staring at screens. 

Read fast. 


You are only occasionally hurt by the sting of airborne nationalisms. 

Mostly, you are bored. Mostly, 

you soak in the afterglow of a buffed manicure. 

Like sweat, pathos will collect in the valley of your cupid’s bow. 

Slide off your chin like wrinkled skin 

on custard. Your dreams are not yet uncompromising, 

but you are getting there. 

No, it isn’t medically possible to die of nostalgia. 

But you’ll try anyway.  

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 ...