“Trichotillomania” from Stationed Near the Gateway


Claire is the hyacinth and the egg
still unbroken in this town
that does not belong to her,
with its bars and motorcycles on Main,
one grocery store and the haunted hotel
where she sleeps with dead monkeys
and little girl ghosts.
At night she gets open-mouthed
sweet green pepper kisses from a man
who could be her father, thick hands
heavy on her shoulders and in the morning
they never speak of it. When they first met
he brought her hurricanes to hold in her palm,
caught her in his teeth as she searched for the sun,
face a naked flower bulb.
He shot her once and she carries
a lump of lead in her chest to prove it,
will show any boy who wants to see.
He brought her here one hot summer afternoon,
tied up her fingers and carried her in his mouth.
She is not certain when he spit her out.
But now he leaves her with tonsil stones,
chalky stench in the crypts of her body,
in her stomach, and he is in her
periphery when she plucks hairs from her head
one at a time and bites off the roots.
She swears it is like sinking her teeth into meat.


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Margaret Bashaar’s poetry has been previously collected into two chapbooks, Letters from Room 27 of the Grand Midway Hotel (Blood Pudding Press) and Barefoot and Listening (Tilt Press), as well as in many literary journals and anthologies including Rhino, Caketrain, New South, Copper Nickel, and Time You Let Me In. She lives in Pittsburgh where she edits the chapbook press Hyacinth Girl Press and is a staff writer for Luna Luna Magazine. Her debut collection, Stationed Near the Gateway, will be published by Sundress in 2015.


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