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Poems by Nadia Al Khunaizi

October 11, 2019

Written by Nadia Al Khunaizi

Image by Nadia Al Khunaizi, featuring text from Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov “I Shouldn’t Have Let Him Hold the Door Open for Me” 

I’m wearing my pink overalls and he says “happy birthday to me.” Did I make you mad? Why aren’t you answering? I contemplate telling him to fuck off but go upstairs and cry instead. You want me to be your nymphet baby, your petite pretty lady. Carry me in your pocket like Polly. Your mom lives on the first floor. So let’s play hide-and-seek. I don’t let the elevator doors shut behind me before I peek. Excuse me, sir, do you know what that exit sign is for? Can I use it as an escape route? Okay. Silly me. I guess I’m too young to understand. “Uber Driver Divorcee” I speak politely in search of assurance of my safety. You tell me about your personal life so I smile and nod. Roughly 35 and recently divorced. I’m a daisy fresh girl, manic pixie dream of a future ex-wife. Uncomfortable remarks about my not being “too” young. Do you have a boyfriend? I keep checking the time. The sun will melt me and I’ll ooze out the cracks of the car door. Roll down the windows, I need some air. I bet you wish I were sitting in the passenger seat with marbles in my mouth. Or maybe eating a banana. Depending on what scene you’re thinking of. I know the experience, those pictures of yourself skydiving, I don’t like this feeling in my stomach. Sorry, I only pretended to write your number down. “Don’t Talk to Strangers, Especially Not Late at Night” Small fries and a vanilla shake from the fast food place on the corner. Take a number. Nothing good ever happens in big crowds or tight rooms. Burp. Inappropriate actions in public spaces. Grab your food a few minutes before I grab mine and stay standing by the door. Did you think we’d bond over fluorescent lights and waiting times? Clean faced and bundled up. Take the look of my pout but imagine it in knee highs. Don’t mistake my shyness for vulnerability. I’m a doll waiting for you to unbox me. What a shame, I’m actually walking in this direction. That’s a coincidence, you are too. How old are you, by the way? I hate to rush but I don’t like this grease and I’m afraid of the dark. No one seems to notice these rose petals falling over me. These little legs can only walk so fast. You can’t help but keep up. A fetish I never could outrun.

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