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Self Portrait or The History of My Face

A poem by Ishani Synghal

By Literature

Photo by Ishani Synghal

tangled web of two states eyes brown seen 

black curve of my sloped nose 

the himalayas 

hairless on my face save the one chin hair 

grows thick and strong I pull out again  again  again 

my one dimple everyone’s pinched on the right side of my mouth

mouth I used to hold like ma 

all the ancestors’ stories stuck on the birthmark under my right eye waste time 

 

blending  

blending

blending 

blending 

praying

praying

praying

praying 

 

my face: a kleptomaniac 

afraid of being alone 

 

points 

at itself in the mirror screeching: STRANGER! STRANGER! STRANGER! 

 

I tremble with disgust-fear knowing that the next time I call ma my english will stick to everything, even my face

you should pray ma tells me 

but 

prayer feels like dirt that drowns my throat 

gag   try to scream 

even your body wants nothing to do with you, stranger, whispers fatimah asghar to me

 

anjaan. un-life. 

ajnabi

aparichit

the first two are urdu. but frequently used in hindi. 

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