eating is for tomorrow’s emergency
I don’t scan the boujee shampoo
at the self-checkout. Rob things
I can afford. To steal giving from
myself is to gift-wrap the Keats book
I was never interested in reading.
Double-check for stains of self-
annotation. Bite off an inch of sellotape.
My left hand is counting
what my right hand has given.
The basement is full of hungry air vents.
Apocalypse might come demanding
a five-figure cheque. Or a head wash.
You won’t have enough hands.
How will you clean your parents’
wrinkles with all that youth in your fingernails.
Nursing homes are for white folk.
Today’s check is tomorrow’s soggy cereal.
Dad is earning less than me. Back pain
from lifting bodies. The Europeans are eating
off his knees. I’ll take a midday nap.
Email an invoice from under the duvet.
I can’t boil pasta or do my taxes.
The future wants me to deposit guilt
into a savings account. Inherit an immigrant
mind-state. Maulana Rumi says
find the real world, give it endlessly away.
I pack dad’s biryani into fourteen gold containers
freeze nourishment for a week
SANAH AHSAN is a poet, liberation psychologist and educator. Sanah’s poetry has won and been shortlisted for several prizes, and published in Poetry Review, Rialto and elsewhere. Sanah’s debut collection I cannot be good until you say it is forthcoming with Bloomsbury 2024.