Mona Arshi

Mona Arshi


the dead
     how they arrive
in slow trailers

on buses
    the untidy dead
though they carry

no baggage
     they hold
unguarded photographs

and small words
    spoken in
 suburban kitchens

or rare marbles
    the colour of citrine
never traded

in childhood
   some wait
by oaken shelters

they exercise such
    tender caution
shoelaces tied

the perfumed dead
   on that long road
the rain spitting from

a sideways direction
   why should there
not be rain

by and by
    and why shouldn’t
birds still

stamp for worms
   whilst cats-eyes blink
in the distance

From My Little Sequence of Ugliness

the departed as leaves

sometimes I
talk to leaves 
where are your 

flight muscles
I say

will you ignore
the flow 
of auxin?

this is a world 
with over

and then
there are the


From The Book of Hurts

I received a parcel
a box
it contained all

the old hurts
their legs
were flailing

like upturned
in motion

I touched one
it was razor sharp
it became then

a naked apple
I held it up
to the light

by its stalk
it began to brown
it began to talk

MONA ARSHI worked as a Human rights lawyer at Liberty before she started writing poetry. Her debut collection Small Hands won the Forward Prize for Best First Collection in 2015. Her second collection Dear Big Gods was published in April 2019 (both books published by Liverpool University Press’s Pavilion Poetry list). She has judged both the Forward and The T. S. Eliot prizes for poetry. Her debut novel Somebody Loves You is due to be published later in the year by And Other Stories.