Hadiyyah Kuma

Things I Take

I take off my shirt and put it into a pool because I can’t swim. I’d rather watch my clothes swim in there with Dina. She’s looking better than she did yesterday. Yesterday she passed out from exhaustion, but tonight glistening water pins itself to all kinds of body parts. I put my shorts in next and they’re a bit heavier, but they float long enough for Dina to grab them in her teeth and shake them back and forth like a puppy. Like a dog. There are dog scars on my stomach, expect they are made from razor blades and not dogs. Dina calls them dog scars, because she’s too gentle to me and says I should treat myself the way I treat Ruby, my Labrador. 

I take out the word, “exasperated” because it appears it two of my poems and I’m unoriginal. I delete two other poems because they are stupid. I don’t think I’m a poet, but I have a poet’s mind, it’s the delivery that gets me. I’m too affected by the works of other’s and find everything I do to just be inferior. I sometimes voice this affliction to my friends and they assure me that I’m greatbband getting places babe. 

I take a splinter out of my father’s finger, using tweezers for the first time. I do it quick and don’t wait for a thank you. I place the tweezers on the sink and go downstairs to drink water. “Thanks baba,” I hear, as I’m gulping. It’s the Guyanese word for ‘baby,’ a term of endearment.  “Sure,” I call back. It’s another of way of saying I don’t care. 

I take dead skin off my mother’s back with my nails and sprinkle it over my dinner. It’s an accident, but I don’t mind. I guess the rationale is that’s the skin I’ve lived in. That’s my skin too. 

I take pieces of Quality Street candy wrapper and press them against a flashlight. I switch the flashlight on and the light is purple, then red, then green, then blue, then white again. 

I take in the skyline as Dina, Ruby and I sit on a rock at the park. There’s the CN Tower, there’s the Bank of Montreal building, there’s some more skyscrapers. There are some rocks and a bird. Dina says, “look!” It’s a cloud shaped like a horse.

I take out the word, “death,” from my entries because it’s too sweet for me. On the other hand, I’m trying to be more positive and choose “life” or “vitality” again and again. And my mother peaks at my journals, I just know it. 

I take back what I said about horses, they’re beautiful. I don’t understand why horse-face is an insult. And look at those sleek bodies, I would die to be to elegant. “Die” is different than “death.” 

I take up colouring because it’s supposed be calming, but I can’t stay inside the lines. Steady now, I tell myself, and sometimes it works. I colour cities and flowery mandalas. They’re kind of nice once they’re almost done. I like them half-coloured, as in the outer rim is coloured and the inner rim is white. It’s cleaner that way. 

I take Dina to an art show and she studies the 35-millimeter photography with her neck tilted to the left. She likes the softer images, ones of trees and hazy flowers. I like the high-flash ones of people lying on top of cars in parking lots or trash bins that have been tipped over. I like the people in showers and bathtubs with grim looks on their faces. I like their nakedness, but I don’t like to be naked. Dina lays a hand on my back. 

I take a breath. 

I take a life, not mine. A fly’s, because it kept trying to get into my nostril. I didn’t mean it, I was sorry. I did what I had to do. 

Hadiyyah Kuma is from Toronto, Ontario. Her work has been or will be featured in places like Jellyfish ReviewHart House ReviewCosmonauts Avenue, and The Rumpus. Find more of her writing at https://dedicatedrambler.wordpress.com/writing/.