by Atifa Othman
My father sings verses about love
outside in the living room.
Gripping the Quran, he lilts each foreign word
like the curves in their letters,
the hesitant, flat tenor echoing
into the thin gap beneath my closed
door, words attaching themselves to
my bruised skin like velcro strapping
across my blackened primary five shoes
that solved the loose tangling of laces.
My skin bruised by the polished surface of a
brass pole with the scent of blood
from lovers’ lips, abrased by thighs squeezing to hold
weight away from the ground, palms
blistered by finding weightlessness in the air
with tighter death grips of the solid,
skin attaching to sin detaching
My father’s soul attached to God’s words,
God’s words attached to my skin, my soul
half-heartedly finding meaning in
sensations and textures that bite.
Atifa Othman is a Malay person, confusing Muslim and non-exemplary Singaporean who dabbles in poetry and fiction. She enjoys writing about the female body and feminine sensuality. She is in the last leg of her Masters in Creative Writing in Nanyang Technological University, working on a poetry project. Her short story, “Eaten Up,” was published in Perempuan: Muslim Women Speak Out.