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“Black Dog” by Sabah Carrim

“Black Dog” by Sabah Carrim

an erring strand of hair
a long one—the longest so far
in food, on the floor, in Their bed
against the contrast of a well-ironed sheet,
a shiny black, sometimes
curled into a straight or mirrored S
question mark broken circle or a six 
lying there, very still
could only be my
Mummy’s.

strands of long, very long hair
intertwined in a mass, in a 
mess
—not unlike the steel wool wires by the kitchen sink—
in the bathroom sump pit, in the dustpan,
from a recently cleaned hair brush, could
only be my Mummy’s. 

falling hair, thinning hair
from dye, from henna, from too much 
shampoo, and the dry weather
—papa says from the artificial heat
of the hair dryer—
in all their variegated colours
black grey white orange 
could only be my Mummy’s.

falling hair, thinning hair from old age
from cancer
—and distress
from a lack of interest in adorning oneself
could only be my Mummy’s.

now I see a strand of long hair
fallen
on the creased skin of a single bed
black going on grey, wiggled at the end
—the longest in this house of
the departed

the longest, the thinnest
the only one
they’re gone, everyone’s gone

and it’s mine


Sabah Carrim has authored two novels, Humeirah and Semi-Apes. Both stories are set in Mauritius where she was born. Additionally, her short stories have been selected in various writing competitions, such as the AfroYoung Adult Short Story Competition, the Gabriele Rico Challenge for Nonfiction, the Bristol Short Story Prize, the Not-So-Normal Narrators Contest, and the Small Island Anthology Competition. Sabah has also been invited to speak at various literary festivals in India, Malaysia, and Kenya, and recently delivered the keynote speech at the African Writers Conference in Nairobi. Sabah is a law lecturer and has a PhD in genocide studies.

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