This selection, chosen by Managing Editor Krista Cox, is from Becoming Persephone by Mary Ann Honaker, released by Third Lung Press in 2019.
One Long Black Hair
I woke up the next morning
blinking at my pink canopy
with no recollection
of how I’d gotten home:
had mom picked me up?
what the fuck had I said/done?
It was alarming, so I smudged
it out, easy in plainspoken day,
with its sharp shadows.
Alone with my boyfriend, later,
he unzipped my pants
to find one long, black hair
braided through the blunt
teeth of the zipper–
This is ———’s.
Said without hesitation, without doubt,
without a question mark of rising sound.
No, peering through my mind’s tides–
as when a later boyfriend
swimming, leading me into the deeps,
turned suddenly around
because something large, white and round
was beneath him. Under the murk
it could’ve been a waterworn
granite chunk, but it also could’ve been
a flat-faced ray, with its Medusa
moaning-mouth and zombie eyes,
so he swam like the swim-team racer
he once was, pausing only to shout:
Turn back! Turn back!
–so I turned back.
I said, “But my brother
also has long black hair,”
and he said, In your zipper?
(seriously, entwined in the copper
row, a hair too long, even I knew)
I said, Yes, of course: we live
in the same house, all my clothes
and his tossed in the same washer,
same dryer, whirled about–
It was enough. He believed it.
Even I believed it.
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