Postcard to the Skin Cells I Bleached at Nineteen

By Alycia Pirmohamed

I wish you were here.

Not the whittled,
stinging version of you

one part lemon juice,
two parts hydroquinone,

but the raw
recently-split you,

composed of untranslated

and five-carbon sugars.
I know I did not

treat you well.
I made you a tourist

on your own landscape.
I transformed you

into an irreparable wound,
an everlasting

assortment of scars.
But the worst, I know,

was how I refused
the blood that fed you,

how I felled the trees,
fallowed the earth,

how I stripped a body
of its seeds,

and ruined bark.

Alycia Pirmohamed is a Canadian poet living in Scotland. She is a Ph.D. student at the University of Edinburgh, where she is studying poetry by second-generation immigrant writers. Her own writing explores what it means to be the daughter of immigrants, and grapples with language loss, cultural identity and displacement.