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Oral Cavity


Illustration by Melissa Torres

by Annusheh Rahim

I was in love and we misunderstood one another. 

Peeling each other back like dragonfruit – 

never ready to reach the middle, 

just romanticising our shells. 


We wouldn’t use changing rooms.

I didn’t try us on for size, 

“Let’s just squeeze into it,

and spritz some perfume” 

The smell is the weakest sense,

so I tasted everything.

I imagined,

in your defence,

that alienation tastes like raspberries. 


Do you know that moment 

when you see something too personal in a stranger? 

Like a darkened inner thigh, 

An untrimmed nose hair,

or their dirty hands showing up insincerely.


Once I accidentally

peered into the inside of your mouth, 

and saw the morsels of food

you missed when you brushed your teeth, 


and the way your tonsils would tighten when you speak. 

We were simply heavily acquainted.

But isn’t that intimacy?

Annusheh Rahim is a writer and film director based between Lahore and London. Her upcoming film, Raqs, will be premiering at the British Film Institution this summer. 

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