The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Becoming Persephone by Mary Ann Honaker

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.

Mary Ann Honaker is the author of Becoming Persephone (Third Lung Press, 2019), and the chapbooks It Will Happen Like This (YesNo Press, 2015) and Gwen and the Big Nothing (The Orchard Street Press, 2020). Her poems have appeared in Bear Review, JMWW, Juked, Little Patuxent Review,, Sweet Tree Review, and elsewhere. Mary Ann holds an MFA from Lesley University. She currently lives in Beaver, West Virginia.

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