Mona Kareem is the author of three poetry collections. She is a translator in residence at Princeton University. Her most recent publication Femme Ghosts is a trilingual chapbook which appeared with Publication Studio in 2019. Kareem has been a featured writer at festivals in Cairo, Istanbul, Berlin, Amsterdam, Brussels, Seoul, Copenhagen, and in the United States.
It's been a long night tonight; I have sent in
my application for a sleep permit hours ago,
I-444. I got a notification it is being processed
at the Nebraska Center for Insomniac Aliens.
They first returned it saying I checked
the wrong application type in my answer
to question F-2. They even returned
the check VOIDED.
I've put on my nightly dress
thirteen times, trying to trick my body
into tricking this 24/7 capitalist cycle
into pausing. I refiled my application,
this time ticking the right choice.
I folded the clouds into paper planes,
I waited for the rain to cum in my mouth,
I counted all the sheep in this nation.
Maybe I licked the wrong stamp,
maybe the postman is still at the trap
house. Or maybe they don't speak
English in Nebraska.
First published in the Michigan Quarterly Review