Ayaz Pirani

PIYP 2017 header

“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)