Self-Portrait Without Stitches

Safia Elhillo

i was hurt i wasn’t i
saw it on the internet
licked yogurt from a
spoon while the girls
described their blood hot
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

Last updated September 27, 2022