half woman half snake

by Alara Egi

Şahmaran tells me behind her bar,
don’t trust a man if you have to tell him
but you have sisters and a mother, too.
don’t trust them if they think clearing the table is a compromise
don’t trust the family father who thinks his sons rather
fear him             don’t trust the boy who pulls your left pigtail and
don’t trust your mum when she tells you it’s
because he likes you.
if you             must trust someone, it should be your mum
but not when she tells you how you should
just shake it off,
if I must trust anyone, I
think, it should be Şahmaran,
my fairy godmother — except she isn’t a fairy
& she’s sorta scary & there are no godmothers over
this part of the World, but I
did grow up with the American Mouse, so I imagine Şahmaran a blonde girlboss, a CEO lady who’d like to
sell me bras and razors and
build a hipster coffee shop on top of my chest —

Şahmaran would tell me not to trust her American adaptations,
especially when they eat labneh or make baklava at home
and my tongue knows no difference
between v and w, but my new mantra is
I am the
Şahmaran tells me, if I ever write a poem about her,
it should be a long one, an
             epic with few line breaks that would take up
space my body could not, but I (should be)
am the Sun now.

I whisper to Şahmaran underneath the neon moon behind her bar,
“I am scared, but
only sometimes,
of men —
older men             richer men
younger men        poorer men             businessmen, men
             with questionable morals,             men who sneer at the color
pink,             men who like it when you’re
tied to a radiator, men with
beige pants who teach literature,
men who steal your
best favourite bands and films.”

she doesn’t say anything but
slices me golden apricot suns &
cherry hearts.