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Poem of the month: Don’t Marry Johnny Panic by Mizzy Hussain

Brahmacari Monica, don’t marry Johnny Panic
nor meet his trickster of a sister at the station.
She’s the mistress orchestrator. O she’s a
meesni one. She’ll sew sequins and wax on a
duck-egg blue dress for you. She’ll tell you
it’s not the chicken season and you’ll believe her.
She’ll hide bones in the kebab and the grey
in her beard. Brahmacari Monica, don’t marry
Johnny Panic, don’t shine his curly-toed shoes
or wash the jittery white turban he never removes;
they claim it patches up his low-volume
migraine, but if you look closer, it’s a weather-
beaten bandage for a brow-beating brain. Brahmacari
Monica, don’t marry Johnny Panic. Take sequins
and wax and dress and go somewhere green.

From Crossing Lines: An Anthology of Immigrant Poetry (Broken Sleep, £7.99).

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