ZAYNAB HASSAN

A Pure Catastrophe

Tell me about the dream where we hold hands under a tree and never cry. We wake up to the smell of gasoline every morning and doze off at dusk. We see the man pulling bodies out of the small window but never speak of it. I sleep on the couch every Friday just to catch a glimpse of your freshly bleached hair. We don’t care about the man smoking cigarettes in the backseat of his car. You ask me about the color of the moon, and I say, half. The man keeps pulling bodies out from the trunk of a blue car. We sleep on separate beds at night, and every time we dance, we look like two civil war soldiers making love on the barren land for the very first time: oblivious and naive. You wake up without ribs one day, and we laugh, hitting our heads on the bed frame. The heart is a vigilant muscle, you say. It can protect itself. I don’t understand, but I comply, for I have never known how to do otherwise. The man keeps pulling bodies out of the door. You keep talking to me in a low voice on the microphone. I keep waiting for you to come back: not as a person (warm and complete), but as love (a pure catastrophe).

Zainab Hassan Rasheed is an unpublished artist, belonging to a small country of Pakistan, who loves to write stand-alone memoir(s) and creative non-fiction. In spite of being diagnosed with a mental health disorder last year, she is stitching her life into a rare organ, as Sylvia Plath quotes. She writes about the odds of life, loss, and something that feels like home.

MORE FROM WINTER 2024 (5:3)

POETRY

Stumbling Blocks on the Mission Center’s Basketball Court, Tamara Kreutz
We fool around in the sauna, Daniel Brennan
Unforgiven Etymology, Jaz Sufi
How it Began, Jana-Lee Germaine
A Sonnet for My Moon Baby, Claire Zhou
Necromancy, Muiz Ajayi
Hot Girl Prayer, Sahara Sidi

PROSE

Afterimage, Santiago Márquez Ramos
Trigger Warning, Caitlyn Hunter
A Pure Catastrophe, Zaynab Hassan
Dreamy and Content, Katie Quach
The Art of Planting Flowers, Amara Okolo

ART

Internal Battle, Britnie Walston
Pop Machine, Richard Lingo
Bleed, Elizabeth Yuan
After the Squirrels Have Feasted—What Remains 2, Karen Pierce Gonzalez