The hair stylist has my iPhone.
“Why this cut?”
“Because I want to.”
I think about gender.
I think about dualities, about binaries. I think about the color grey.
And, in a moment of orange, I tell my stylist to make the left side
just a little shorter, right over the ear.
I think about breasts.
I think about the heft of them, their softness & their bounce.
The curve in profile. I especially think about the sides of them,
the skin that spills from the nipple toward the rib cage & the arm pit.
I love that slope the best. I’d ski it if I could.
I think about the day my breasts first started growing &
I was still unembarrassed to be naked in front of my parents.
I think about how my mom came in later to discuss bras with me.
We went over training bras.
We went over how my dad noticed that my breasts were developing.
My mom always used the word breasts.
And other embarrassing words like developing.
I think about sexuality, about sex, about pleasure.
Around the time of the training bras, I was given the Bible.
Well, okay, Our Bodies, Ourselves.
I flipped right to the good stuff.
I began to religiously understand my vagina.
I think about some of the other people who’ve been to my Church.
And, I tell you what, we must have been praying something fierce
back in high school because they never wore condoms.
And we were lucky. And stupid. And lucky.
I think about luck & how it runs. And for whom.
I think about the colors of our skins & the thickness of our cultures.
In a moment of privilege, I tell my stylist to layer the left side a little rougher.
I think about my uterus and how I now know a whole bunch of stuff
I didn’t back then but, namely, that it doesn’t work quite right.
I flip through my Rolodex of embarrassing words like
viability and polycystic and other ones I don’t feel like writing down.
And then I think about the word lucky again.
And I wonder what it means exactly.
The stylist is layering the right side now, long and feminine.
It feels soft and nice against my collarbone, my shoulders.
“Are you going to blend the two sides in the back? Or how’s that gonna work?”
“Oh honey, we can’t do that. It’s two different cuts!”
I think about gender again. And sexuality again. And breasts again.
And uteruses again. And luck again.
And then I think about the dismantling of duality, the blend of the Venn.
I think about a Rumi quote that I love:
Out beyond ideas
Of wrongdoing and rightdoing
There is a field.
I’ll meet you there.
I think about nuance. And autonomy. And choice. And rights. And identity.
I think about pride & how it’s the opposite of shame.
I think about embarrassment & how it’s the opposite of pleasure.
I think about black as the absence of light.
And white as the sum of all color, the saturation of hue.
I think about our bodies as an absence or a sum,
as the offering of rights or a collection plate for legislature.
I mouth the word forsaken.
Later I google the definition, just to be sure. It means abandoned.
I use it in a sentence:
The United States has forsaken us.
US of the breasts & the uteruses.
US of the pleasure & the luck.
US of the pain & the less than whole.
US of the soft & feminine.
US of the rough & cut.
US of the grey & orange.
US of the wanting & the choice.
I love the speaker and the voice and every single bit of this poem.
Wow… just wow. I’m amazed at your ability to weave a lament on the failures of American legislature into a seemingly simple narrative about a haircut. This poem is incredible, timely, and so many other words I could say, but I’ll just leave it at this. Thank you for writing and sharing!