“The Night of the Death” by Jason Allen-Paisant

Check me out simmerin

cross the dance floor

5000 miles


——–to house music


Mommy    you really could have

picked up the phone


My smile won’t go

I slow down and

the world

—–returns only


Mama dead   just so


Can I speak to someone

——other than these

Erasmus girls shimmying

on the dance floor?


M o m m y you really could have

—–picked up the phone


I’m dancing

——–through the Facebook message

—–to house


They’re asking me

Are you alright?

—-in Paris



Tommy     Mama dead

The Facebook message

—–in the K-Fêt    École




I didn’t return home

to you waiting for me

——two months




and I

couldn’t afford the plane ticket



here    I am


in a café in Paris

École Normale Supérieure

—–these girls shimmying beside me



you could have

picked up the phone

——not a Facebook message

I would have paid



Jason Allen-Paisant is a Jamaican-born, UK-based poet. He graduated from the University of Oxford in 2015 with a DPhil in Medieval and Modern Languages and joined the University of Leeds in 2016 as a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow and now serves as the Director of the Institute for Colonial and Postcolonial Studies. His debut poetry collection, Thinking with Treeswas published in June 2021 by Carcanet Press and named by The Irish Times as one of the Best Poetry Books of 2021.

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