Il était un petit navire
Qui n’avait jamais navigué.
(Traditional French children’s song)
Petit Navire by Mehran Waheed
Monsters hide beneath your jungle hair, itching to settle like
Migrant lice, refugee nits, Islamic ticks burrowed within your scalp.
Mixed skin bubbles and bends.
Partitioned tears stick to ruddy rocks,
Jagged timber, barnacles sucking dry as I sway
to the tide of another’s lullaby.
By lamplight, learning runes, fingers searching heaven’s face,
This braille in your little starry sky.
Feverish, you shiver me as watershed creaks and turns.
I steer scars away, but there is no motherland’s milk,
Only the varnish of calamine, and the taste of strawberry jam
upon your kiss as I draw you closer.
Mehran Waheed is the winner of the Wasafiri New Writing Prize 2017, Poetry Category