Self-Portrait without Stitches

by Safia Elhillo

after Tarfia Faizullah

i was hurt      i wasn’t      i saw it
on the internet      licked yogurt
from a spoon while the girls
described their blood      hot      seizing
the cotton of a sheet      i am speaking
from the cut place      from my other
mouths      do not believe me for i
was never cut      or      i was hurt but
never sewn      or      i wasn’t      i want
-ed it      i didn’t      i screamed      i didn’t
i bit down      i bled      i didn’t      i click
through pictures of the girls      moonfaced
thick-cheeked      still fastened      to the
roundness of childhood      consider
the softness of my jaw      my face without
angles      without edges      i covered
i cowered      i didn’t      i cried      i came to
i click & learn their names      incant them
i learn the names of the stones      the theory
it wasn’t me      i think of all the ways
we match      it could have been      it
couldn’t      consider the cut place      thick
liquid      of citizenship    spilling from
my many mouths      uncut      my many
uncut mouths