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First Love by Mina Khan

A room, a possum, its body in formaldehyde

My right leg trembles the first time

It’s easy to trap a possum, just squeeze its tail, watch it squirm and

Since then I am so slippery, skin all wet between my

Stink. I hate that smell

I know you do because you told me

Stink. I came

I did so sobbing

My eyes could almost slip out their

Sockets are full of electricity, my wet a conveyer

Belts, I hate them, that click of silver. Hated it

Now and I hate my mouth and I wince

Before your hand

Because what is worse than

Lips so pink

And full of teeth, what is

worse? And so I

Stay. A possum in a bucket

Fur floated to the top.

You said he was your best friend

His bones a string across your neck

White and glistening and



MINA KHAN is a first-gen Pakistani-Korean American. They write into the confusion of violence and tenderness. They are the author of the chapbook, Mon— monuments, monarchs & monsters (Sputnik & Fizzle 2020), and are published or forthcoming in the the Berkeley Poetry Review, The Margins, Lammergeier, and more. They are a current MFA Candidate at Columbia University.


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