By Aïcha Martine
i ask for the room by the window
they say, honey, you know this isn’t a hotel, right?
but kindly, like i just don’t understand things yet
i heard doctors don’t have a sense of humor, that if they
do, it is phone-cord extra-twisted
so i don’t ask about the “cleaning fee” and the “checkout
or quip, “send you a postcard when i’m out”
in fact i know not to ask for much
i’m supposed to revel in the multiverses they show me
and promise never to scoff at tenderness again
i know the drill
when you are tired, people love to slip in their two cents, unaware that there is tired, and then
there is tired-tired, and the intervals between are farcical
inspirational drivel tells me
don’t be afraid! go your own way! find your dazzled path! hold fast the adventure!
dangerous advice for a girl like me with a foot out the
door and any excuse to bail on her lantern dreams and
i have decided
to swallow cyclones again and flick albatrosses off my shoulders
get giddy around bedtime
eat like i am three years old again
read until my marbles fall out
practice laughing like my chest is harmonica
when the nurse gets leery-eyed at this epicurean
development in the story, i echo my people’s helpful
girl, stop worrying. you need to take a vacation!
Aïcha Martine is a trilingual writer, musician, cinephile, and artist, and might have been a kraken in a past life. She’s an Editor at Reckoning, co-EIC/Producer/Creative Director of The Nasiona, and a two-time Best of the Net nominee. Her collection AT SEA, which was shortlisted for the 2019 Kingdoms in the Wild Poetry Prize, is forthcoming from CLASH Books. Some words found or forthcoming in: Déraciné, The Rumpus, Moonchild Magazine, Marías at Sampaguitas, Luna Luna, Bright Wall/Dark Room, Pussy Magic, South Broadway Ghost Society, Gone Lawn, Boston Accent Lit, Anti-Heroin Chic, Cosmonauts Avenue, Tenderness Lit. She can be found on social media at @Maelllstrom and at her website, www.amartine.com.