Mohamed is on Fire

A quick slap;
Whoosh of air and the sting of Cobra’s hand across my cheek,
My name marks me as jinn; a five year old desert fairy,
Possessed of an evil spirit.
Your hand angry at my gender.
Your amulet swinging across your breasts,
Your chador flapping with the force of your arm drawing back three times,
I am proud;
My head balancing on my long stem of a neck,
No tears, but a firm jaw,
I do not look away in shame.

Three slaps later,
Mohamed comes to my rescue,
Rushing in to hold you back,
Your flowered shift swirling like demons around us,
You grab the red kerosene tin to stop him,
A splash of pungent almost a flame,
And you two are wrestling with the outcome,
Is Mohamed on fire?
I cower on the army cot loving Mohamed.
Seeing him in flames like Phúc in the photo, Vietnam Napalm,
Who was set to fire; Mohamed or the jinn?
Cobra is separated from the matches,
The jinn is separated from her heart,
Mohamed stands alone.

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About Avery Cassell

Avery Cassell is a genderqueer San Francisco writer, poet, cartoonist, and artist who grew up in Iran. They live with their Maine Coon cat, Lulu, and bake yeasted waffles every Sunday morning. Behrouz Gets Lucky is their first novel. You can find their erotic short stories sprinkled in various anthologies, including Best Lesbian Erotica 2015 and Sex Still Spoken Here. Avery is currently working on a book of more of Behrouz and Lucky's shenanigans, a memoir, and an illustrated early reader children's book about a eight year old transgender boy and his family.
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