a long term conversion - halima abukar

Tomorrow is orange peels. the fibers are stuck under my fingernails, and when I open a Toblerone and get citrus in my mouth, the strands play with my tongue until I forcefully spit them out. I will rattle four bloody wisdom teeth in my hand while walking from the living room to the refrigerator, and my sister scoffs at me, because my teeth are supposed to be in my mouth, and not in my hand.

your teeth are not supposed to be in your hand, she says, and I make her scoff again with my bloody mouth.


Today is burnt pancakes and raisins. I hate when my dad reminds me to remember to be someone when someone is being someone,

this time it is a former peer I recognize he is

walking with his mother, or maybe his grandmother, or maybe it is just an old lady he is neighborly with. I know that I assume, and that makes me forget I’m a person, too, but so many people have let me get away with it.


Yesterday was chain-smoked cigarettes. My mother said her favorite color is red but she didn’t wear her red hijab, she reached for the purple one. I saw a cloud in a painting

that was painted black and grey, and on the icy bus when you sat next to me, I didn’t speak because I hadn’t brushed my teeth for twelve hours. but you touched me, and we became crystals, even though where you pressed your arm to mine was hot like a melted sundae.

Tomorrow is honey and butter. I lie to myself

when I believe that the purple knitted blanket is hand-made and not store-bought, store-bought like

the lentils that my hand swam through the evening before. And now the stars in the sky and in the planetarium have exploded, and the dirt is between my eyes, and I have no patience to detangle my insides with a wide tooth comb.

halima abukar is a 22 year old writer from Rochester, New York. Currently, she is a senior undergraduate student at Howard University, studying psychology and English. Her inspirations are my Ocean Vuong, Raymond Carver, and Julie Dash. Halima hopes to obtain an MFA in creative writing non-fiction, and write a collection of short-stories and poetry.

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