“African Masks” by Ayaz Pirani
from the 2017 Poem in Your Pocket Day booklet
As a kid I’d hate to lose my way
to the drawers of Ornithology or African masks.
I didn’t fancy the Mesa blankets
and said no to all the Walks of Tears, of Fears, of Hunger.
Best was to find myself in the Ice Cream Shop
or Gift Shop,
the white people’s diorama
in which they do not disappear from the Earth.
I still don’t like pinned butterflies
and pieces of petrified forest you take home in your pockets.
I don’t need to see the sunken treasure
brought to dry land.
It’s like if there’s a gem
on the Queen of England’s crown that I know
belongs to my bride,
you won’t see me just reach out and take it.
First printed in Tipton Poetry Journal (Summer 2016)