my week off by Aïcha Martine

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

early” discount

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



no matter.


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,