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The Water Cooler

Updated: Aug 23, 2022

Sakina Hassan

The poem was submitted as part of Mina Malik's digital curation on the theme of Summer and the Senses. Mina was unable to include it during her curation in June due to space constraints, and thus we are publishing it now.

It’s Summer again

Season of the droning, deafening coolers

Watering them another chore

In the broiling, scorching day

Once, a long time ago

In my summer holiday impatience

I let the pipe slip from my fingers

Slithering through the window bars

I let water swirl and pool

All over my grandmother’s bed

Setting off her siren screaming

For the fiftieth time that day

One time too many for her daughter-in-law

The final nail, her skull exploding

Her nerves, already baked to fragility

Snapping in every direction

She put her foot down

Through several miles of earth

She left, trailing anger like choking smoke

The pieces of our broken home scattering in her wake

It’s Summer again

Season of Nana’s air conditioning

And our fathers wilting in cold, dark rooms

Heads limp in their hands

Begging our mothers to come back.

Using the air conditioner all the time is expensive (mixed media on printed fabric, 2015) by Minaa Mohsin


Sakina Hassan abandoned academia after an M.Phil in microelectronic engineering to work in the development sector. She has put her current job as a librarian on hold for new motherhood and writes in her spare time. Her work has been featured in Gully Collective and the Author’s Alliance Flash Fiction Festival 2021.

Minaa Mohsin is a Pakistani-American painter. She received her BFA in painting from the National College of Arts, Lahore in 2013 and MFA in painting and drawing from the Pratt Institute, New York in 2016. Her work has been exhibited in Pakistan and the United States. In 2018 she was awarded a residency at the Sam and Adele Golden Foundation for the Arts, NY. She is a certified Golden Artist Educator for Golden Artist Colors in Pakistan since 2019. Minaa currently divides her time between Lahore and Brooklyn and is the co-founder of Partner Painters in Lahore. Her work was also featured in The Aleph Review, Vol. 6 (2022).


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