She shaves her head to hang
the locks like a totem, like a string of garlic

above our front door, tells me
they’ll smell it – they’ll stay away.

We wait for weeks hoping
to deter the batons of the body police,

and I watch as she lifts her face
to the greyed sky, fat with trapped rain,

holding her palms out.
Don’t ask me about the science

behind the hair. Maybe it’s something
in the shedding, easier to swallow

than any other kind we do.
Something in the act of slicing

so the world knows already of her penance.
I dream her stomach full of worms.

I dream them echoing, humming
against the tightness of her skin,

as she looks to the hung hair for answers –
she tells me she dreams of dropping an egg

over and over, the unborn splattering
on her toes. In this world we are criminal

for putting self over womb. In this world
we wait, dream again a stomach full of sun

like gold too heavy to carry, melting
and dripping out of us, staining our feet.



Add yours →

  1. This one of your strongest poems yet.


  2. I agree with your mom; and it’s very visceral and impactful.


  3. Powerful, Zo…a kind of incantation. Both delicate and brutal.

    Liked by 1 person

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