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Middletown
Connecticut

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The Ankh

My mother's mind is like fruit.
It rots.
She sat alone on hospital beds as doctors told her, “No, it’s too dangerous.”
I sat alone on first-grade floors as the others told me, “No, it’s too dangerous.
I don't want to get too close. I don't want to catch the crazy.”
My mother tells me it isn’t her fault.
It’s just the way it goes. Bad stuff roams and, like Christopher,
they colonize.
Blood clots settled and impregnated pink hills.
It feels like a baby, she tells me, where
Something is sitting, throbbing, waiting to come out.
You can feel it.
And sometimes it does, sometimes
it peeks out, but
never in solids.
Translucents or Crimsons between black
spill out where no one can see, where darkness is
Her Voice Slows
illuminated by the rice grains in tea and I see the world in flashing browns but browns are dark
Her Tongue Heavies
and my childhood was bleak but Ii don’t regret you, baby, you were the best to have
She Falters Forwards
happened. the world is starker with you in it and i’m sorry that you had to be where the shadows
My Mother Soaks Feathered Pillows
are. but I’m so glad i have you, so sweet, so sweet, in mommy’s head

Mina Khan '20