Ten Instances of Living in Isolation
Prose poem by Sana Mohsin
Last night it rained at 3am; an almost-movie rain according to my sister, an almost-
barsaat, an almost-monsoon.
On days when my feelings cripple me, my mother brings me plums in bed. From my pillow, I trace the ridges on the glossy skin, putting off biting into the flesh.
In a text message to a friend in Toronto: So much has changed, and yet nothing has. We were driving back from the airport and I was struggling to remember routes and addresses (7.38pm)
The amaltas have bloomed in Lahore for the first time in a decade, casting our
neighbourhood in a state of permanent golden hour. Right now, when I can spend hours
looking through my window, admiring the bunches of light.
I wear nothing but my mother’s cotton shalwar kameez, the outfits soft and faded, from
wear and wash.
When I spray rose-water on my skin at night she questions why I would want to smell
like a graveyard, the garlands around mounds crumbling from neglect.
I slowly realize I’ve left important things back: a Bluetooth computer mouse, Han Kang’s
The White Book, a jewel-green cardigan I could’ve used for the mild winters here, and
hand-crafted soap made from lavender, picked up from Niagara-on-the-lake. Still
There is that feeling of anticipation strumming through my veins; waiting, waiting,
waiting. Who will we be when this is all over?
Sara Suleri wrote, leaving Pakistan was tantamount to leaving the company of women.
Returning to Pakistan is learning to live with their stifling affection again.
Isolation brings so much time - to write maybe, to ‘find myself.’ The only thing stopping me is now myself.
Sana Mohsin is an undergraduate at the University of Toronto. She likes nature imagery and tea, and hopes to make a career of reading and writing. You can follow her on Twitter @filmvillian