by Mona Arshi
Never marry an insomniac. You will have
________to mind yourself.
________________Have hem weights
________sewn into the lining of your garments,
cure your skin with almond oil until it’s bloated
________and the pores are brimming.
________________Purchase a large wooden-grained
________trunk and place it near your bed-it’s for
safekeepings. (Obscurely, somewhere deep inside you
________know all this).Very soon
________________you won’t be able to tell
________the days apart, you’ll develop a tic and it will
distill at the centre (within the hive of your other small
________________in mild wind and when you speak
________minute silver-fish consort in the pit of your throat.
Exquisite wife to the shade: the exact point you place
________your finger-tip on winter mornings,
________________a raindrop will later stop and fret.
________It’s a wonder if you survive at all.
It will all end in the mouth; you’ll blink-
________he’ll stir. You’ll practice lying very very still-
________(your talismans) will blink back in their jars.
…from Small Hands (Pavilion Press, 2014)
Mona Arshi has been a frequent audience-member & workshop-participant at London’s Troubadour poetry events (www.coffeehousepoetry.org). A prize winner in the 2013 Troubadour International Poetry Prize & joint winner of the Manchester Creative Writing poetry prize in 2014, her Forward-prize-winning debut collection Small Hands was published by Pavilion Poetry (Liverpool University Press). Mona lives in West London & worked as a human rights lawyer for a decade before studying Creative Writing at University of East Anglia. www.monaarshi.com