Khaled Mattawa calls the Poetry Crisis Line

COUNSELOR: Poetry Crisis Line, what is your emergency?

CALLER: My mother forgets to feed her animals

COUNSELOR: Is there someone who can feed them for her?

CALLER: because it’s only fair.

COUNSELOR: Fair or not, the animals have to be fed.

CALLER: She rushes to them

COUNSELOR: Oh, good.

CALLER: when / she hears hoarse roosters crowing

COUNSELOR: Don’t they do that at daybreak? How early does she feed her animals? Or forget to?

CALLER: and billy goats butting

COUNSELOR: Are you sure they’re not bluffing? Or gruffing? Is there a bridge?

CALLER: over

COUNSELOR: a troll?

CALLER: a last straw.

COUNSELOR: I was only asking.

CALLER: This month the moon becomes a princess.

COUNSELOR: She does! Um… why did you call her the moon? Is that a crack about her butt?

CALLER: The stars fan her,

COUNSELOR: I’m a fan too. I loved her in Suits.

CALLER: Jupiter pours cups of wine,

COUNSELOR: No, that’s Bacchus. Jupiter is in charge of—you don’t think it will rain, do you?

CALLER: Mars sings

COUNSELOR: Shouldn’t that be Apollo?

CALLER: melancholy mawals.

COUNSELOR: Where did they come from? The melancholy narwhals?

CALLER: Bearded men

COUNSELOR: And they just show up, holding narwhals?

CALLER: holding prayer beads

COUNSELOR: That sounds much easier.

CALLER: and yellow booklets

COUNSELOR: See, a book and a string of beads—easy to carry. A book and a narwhal, not so much.

CALLER: stare at her

COUNSELOR: Uh, are they hoping for autographs? At her wedding? That’s the tackiest thing I can imagine.

CALLER: and point aching fingers at her waist.

COUNSELOR: I stand corrected. What is this obsession with women’s waistlines?



Read the rest of “Ramadan” by Khaled Mattawa here.