ON LEARNING TO LOVE A SHIPWRECK

           

Our bodies
ebbing and flowing
on the bed,
like debris littering
the storm-riddled sea.

We crash onto and into
each other, as if
our bodies colliding
can mesh us into
something whole again.

The feel of your skin,
waves underneath mine,
is so soothing that I ignore
that we are only
floating like this
to forget that
in the morning

we drown.

I want to learn
to love
my driftwood body
without the feel of yours
on top of it.

I lay here,
back against the
sea of blankets,
reaching for the empty
space next to me,
until my bones feel
settled without
yours beside them.


HOW TO LOSE YOURSELF

               

I have studied absence like a theory.

It is all I know how to do:
carry the bodies of those
who abandoned me
as if they are roses
I plan to give to the next
him.

I begin to resemble
every hollowed promise,
every fear that has
blossomed into a truth,
until my face contorts
into the nightmares
that embroider my thoughts.

I used to be so pretty
until I lost myself
deep within your absence.

 


 

ON TRANSLATING HIM

           

I crave the broken love he makes to me.

The way he conveys in a lost language
of silences and curled fists
that God created this
misfit love to remind each other
how oftentimes damaged things
are to be left damaged.

I so often tried to
learn this language
just so I could talk to him
that I forgot my native
tongue entirely.

It’s so hard
to choke out the
words, “I love you”
when he got the
world to curl its
fingers around
my throat.

The way he
tells me I am his—
I don’t seem to mind
if it’s with his lips
or his absence.

He promises me they
mean the same thing.

Learning a language
takes awhile,
I tell myself.

I don’t care that
I’ve given
myself entirely
to his breathing—

whether it be
in her ear
or mine.

We’re both just learning his language.

 


ALL NIGHT

           

it was all darkness and teeth—
the night’s fangs ripped me into
ribbons that i just tied around
your wrists
            like a present

 

i don’t feel like a gift
when you are eating me whole,
no—i feel like the empty space
between your words
and my tongue
the empty space where all your
promises seem to drop
            like stones

 

i shroud myself in your absence of light
nowadays, anything feels
like a security blanket
if it is empty enough
and i have made vacancy
            like a home

your words martyr and murder me
i have peeled the ribbons of my skin
one by one and given them to
people who seem like they need more—
you always need more
            like a hunger

i am the crumbs
between your teeth
that you spit out,
falling
            like confetti

i am all night now


THE MORNING AFTER

 

I wake up feeling like I am not in my body.

I try to scrape away the feeling,
as if sandpaper can
scratch away the skin
that still
feels your touch.

I wilt the way that
forgotten flowers do,
adorned with a
letter that reads,

“I was once loved
into something
beautiful.”

How do I
continue life
in a puppet
of a body
that wants nothing more
than to shed its skin?

Everyone knows
that my smile
still tastes
of your mouth,
so they do not question it
when I scrub
and scrub
until it is
gone.


HINNAH MIAN  is a 21 year old Pakistani-American poet whose works have been published in various literary magazines and journals such as Local Wolves, Harness Magazine, JUMP international journal of modern poetry, Califragile and Blue Minaret.

More from Hinnah: INSTAGRAM
 

 

HINNAH MIAN IN CONVERSATION

 

 

Language is super important to me in writing. I think it's really important to have your own distinct voice/writing style, so people see
something and think "that's definitely Hinnah's writing." I'm bilingual as well, so I really like to incorporate cultural elements into my writing so I can make it my own.

READ FULL CONVERSATION HERE