|Influences||Bronte, Swift, Austen, Seinfeld, Alban, Adkins, Aciman...|
|Bio||ACU student. Arts, education, sociology student. Literature lover. Lost in words and travelling the world (virtually...because COVID is a cruel mistress).|
Just the beginning...of an identity crisis
"Just the beginning…of an identity crisis"
So, you owe me answers, you two-faced faith,
and reasons for good souls denied the same good place.
All dead, will it be as it was when I was a child?
Can I ask Christ about parental visitation rights?
Can Dad’s Prophet come over from Jannah on weekends?
You’d better find a way to sew together your kingdoms.
So, let’s broker custody over heaven.
Take off your halo and sit down for tea.
Bring your son; he can play with your spirit
in the park across the street.
Tell me about Mecca in that print of Pan,
and explain the oasis in that bloodied Red Sea.
Ask Moses to part the waters once more;
I want to see Wendy and Peter, please.
Old Roads Home
Those roads home will wind ’round you–a tar trickster lining the length of your spine–a bilingual bus stop to seal your oaths and read your palms. Those roads toward her or him or them or you…oh, those roads home will play hopscotch with your hope and are the cement and soul in your thoughts. These STOP signs–these hieroglyphs–these arrowheads home.
I remember his ancient language; it was fast and harsh and loud. Truly musical, it sent me to sleep at night. A sad discussion with a village on the other side of the road was my white noise machine.
Now I am small, I see those roads home in my mind: they bear a shape and a voice and a smell. The light in the garage is on, up the driveway, and a cup of tea is steaming, and his realm is teeming with rasping gibberish.
It is a secret power I have no access to–how he treads the track between this world and his. How their mouths move with the crackle of lightening…with whispered, misty promises: “I’ll be home soon.”
And I remember knowing I was in exile from those roads home, for I had no notion of the cosmos he spoke to.
To Kill a Keloid Scar: A Melanin-Inspired Memoir
To Kill a Keloid Scar: A Melanin-Inspired Memoir
1. an area of irregular fibrous tissue formed at the site of a scar or injury.
My mind wakes before my body.
The overwhelming desire to throw up is the first memory: the only sensation strong enough to hurl my body forward from my coma.
I hear a nurse whisper “shit…”, I giggle at the curse word, and then the sensation of pressure to my back.
“This happens sometimes, kids don’t respond well to anaesthesia.”
“I know,” mutters the woman beside me. Mum. Relief overflows me. “I’m a NUM at St George.”
The tone of the nurse changes. Respect; a bit of fear. “Oh. Well, then you’d know.”
The first words I mumble: “Love you, Mum.”
“I love you, too, baby girl.”
“Where’s my Nintendo?”
Screaming at my eyelids, they open to blurs of brown hair and pale skin. She looks at me with tired, thoughtful eyes.
There’s the smell of something in the air. Springtime? No, ammonia.
Her hand was around mine.
We go home from the hospital. Mum is humming and she’s rubbing my back.
As the sun falls to the night, a mandarin hue flares through open pane windows; it sets fire to the burgundy reds and ebony browns of our lounge. Jasmine and musk play on the wind; my dad must have been burning incense. He often does this for his sunset salah. The soft, mellow sound of wind chimes outside sing a tranquillity I am happy to come home to.
They cut off my keloid–snip, snip, castration to my ear. My dad has a keloid like mine, but he doesn’t mind his as much; he says it makes him look manly. I don’t want to look manly. I want to be pretty. I look for him in the lounge. I except to see find him packing his prayer mat and prayer beads away. But no.
Dad’s gone. Mum’s crying. Back to Africa. The drugs are wearing off. I look in the mirror.
Is my scar gone?
I stood there touching my keloid scar, breathing deeply.
It was July, but I remember I couldn’t quite feel time. I closed my eyes and stood in front of the palliative care unit in St George, drinking the fragrance of jasmine. It was the evening time and there was a storm on the air. My fingers instinctively fiddled my with pebbled earlobe. It had grown back.
That fucking keloid scar. I had first started touching it to test if the blasted bubble would grow back. And yes–slowly, slowly, it returned and my flesh reformed its little, strange bubble over the months that followed my operation.
But my touch to the scar never ceased and, instead of probing to test its return, I probed to reassure myself of an ineffable truth: the scar resurrected. The doctors said there was a chance it would just grow back again and, god knows, there was so much more I wish doctors were wrong about. Like Stage IV cancer.
And so I touched it now. The little alien Christmas tree bauble sewn to my earlobe. It gave me comfort. A strange forever formation of my otherness.
My eyes were shut to the oncoming storm, but I swayed. I swayed and imagined this very moment. I imagined myself writing this scene in a book: a bestselling bastard, a fucking Pulitzer. I told myself one day I would recreate this moment for readers so that would feel my suffering – my torture – and they would cry the tears – my tears – I denied myself in that moment. I wanted to torment my audience with the author’s pain – the pain of a thirteen-year-old girl whose mother was three-nights from dying in the hospital room inside.
Because, as I stood swaying with the screaming trees, in the cool shadows of a sad July night, I refused the onslaught of tears. I told myself to be strong; brave, smiling masks would offer my mother reassurance that I would be just fine when she left…and I’d simply save this pain for the pages.
To survive, I made myself a character who was living this tragedy. I was no different to Harry Potter or Cinderella or Bambi: their mothers had all died, and their happy endings arrived in due course.
But now, as I write, I find myself regretting that desire. If I wanted my readers to take anything from that fourteen-year-old girl’s horrible night, I would take them back to the first sentence: “I stood there touching my keloid scar, breathing deeply”.
This scar spoke of a permanence in my life and an unchanging, ever-returning presence. A power.
I’ve stopped writing. Except for the never-ending academic drivel of an undergraduate nobody. This is the first I’ve written in years. And I wonder what strength I have left to share.
I look back into the eyes of my childhood and she looks back at me with an amused smile. I don’t know why. She knows something that I do not. She’s a strange, frumpy, smart sort of girl. I’d like to think she was kind, too. Ha.
The keloid scar is back and blossomed into a bulging, little being.
My family suggest I go to a dermatologist or surgeon, but I’m not so sure anymore.
I see it in the mirror and there’s a strange sort of affinity I feel for it now. I call it my little Hydra-head: if I cut it off, it grows back threefold. I would like to think I can find strength in my warm, melanin-laden flesh–she over-repairs herself; she overprotects herself from carnage and grief.
To kill a keloid scar. No, no, why kill it? It will only return with a sad sort of vengeance. I won’t kill my keloid scar. I will wear it. Like I wear my other scars and my culture and my soul.