The cuff of my light winter jacket
brushes teasingly against my hand -
the rich golden brown paste,
arranged in a henna pattern,
feels cool against my skin.
The ladies told me to let the henna dry,
but the liquid paste squishes sickeningly,
collapsing under my starchy
and just like that, a part of the henna
is irreversibly erased -
a curl here, a petal plucked from the flower -
those swirls of life that will
never see the sky.
I was never good at following directions.