by Lina Alhanshali*

You are standing in front of your mirror again
Two minutes turned to five turned to ten
You study and memorize the size and location
Of each new bald patch

Until one day it becomes easier to count the hairs
Your scalp like a forest once full of life
Slowly turned into an empty desert
That to you was a landscape with potential

You viewed your scalp like a canvas
That some days you left blank
Other days you adorned it
With wigs, bonnets, even henna tattoos

Maybe this is where beauty and self-love meet
Maybe the most beautiful parts of ourselves are the ones
We learned to embrace

We in our own lives secretly admired you
To us, you are beautiful

  • Lina Alhanshali is a medical student at SUNY Downstate in New York. She is passionate about narrative medicine and enjoys using creative writing as a way of connecting with patients and expressing ideas. Her work has appeared in the anthology Telling our Stories Sharing our lives. Email:
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