TORN by Sahar Mustafah

TORN by Sahar Mustafah

We sat cross-legged on my bed, the globe wobbling between us on its plastic stand, and you turned it until a part of Asia and all of Australia faced me. You pressed your palm against Africa and teased a corner of South America until you peeled it off, taking most of the Atlantic Ocean with you. I held my breath, worried you were going to tear it away from the rest of the world—much too easily—and ball it up and throw it into my wastebasket.

But you let it hang there, and when I slowly spun the world I pushed my fingers through the hole as though, at nine years old, I might feel water and seaweed and a shoal of fish and maybe the rough dorsal ridges of a whale.

You were ten then, older and wiser, and said if I could actually reach in and touch the core of the earth my entire hand would instantly melt from red-hot magma. I pulled out my fingers and carefully lifted the thin paper and pressed it into its proper place, but it wouldn’t stick.
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    SAHAR MUSTAFAH is a writer, editor, and teacher from Chicago. Her work has appeared in Word Riot, Hair Trigger 35, Mizna, New Scriptor, Chicago Literati, and Dinarzad’s Children: an Anthology of Contemporary Arab American Literature (2004). Her short story “Shisha Love” won the 2012 Guild Literary Complex Fiction Award and was nominated for a 2013 Pushcart Prize; her short story “Perfect Genes” earned 3rd Place in the 2013 Gold Circle Awards from Columbia University Scholastic Press Association for collegiate magazines. She is a Follett Graduate Scholar at Columbia College Chicago where she is pursuing her MFA in fiction and is the co-founder and editor of Bird’s Thumb, a literary journal.


    MARK PARA draws inspiration from intricate craftsmanship and vintage charm. His taste is further influenced by his love of cars and modern architecture, as well as a great appreciation for the simplicity of nature. Among his many hobbies, Mark collects fine automatic timepieces and spends time restoring his antique Mercedes 250s. He is currently doing freelance design. His other work can be seen at