Bright pink rings appeared on my body
when I learnt there had been another–
that for a brief moment you let someone into that space
shaped like me and I wonder if she fit better,
beautiful with all the ideas I haven’t had.
And I know it was fleeting, as fragile
and translucent as the scales
peeling and flaking at the center of
each burning mark on my skin, each one as easily
removed as it appeared, rubbed away by a month of smooth
balm, which means days for just the two of us,
applied religiously, in my name.
How strange that they were rings?
That age-old symbol of fidelity,
reminding me with an unforgiving itch
that it is dangerous to call anything your own,
even the skin you have lived in
even a touch of love,
which after the rawness
has healed reminds me
of those parasitic pools
that even when they have left,
threaten to come right back and take the parts of me
I will never give up without a fight.
By Mina Hassan
Mina Hassan was born in Chicago and grew up in Karachi, Pakistan. She is a Master’s student at the University of Oxford and a co-creator of the South Asian literary magazine DHOOP Journal (www.dhoopjournal.com ). Her chapbook Flying South: a Collection of Winter Ghazals was recently published by Bottlecap Press.