A whole colony of louse made a house
in thick fields of my dark & straight hair
styled like a bastard child of a Beatle.
Mom used a thin black comb to roam
my skull & pulled from it tiny-legged creatures
eager to escape the bars they nestled in.
When excessive combing & scrubbing
w/ medicinal shampoo didn’t kill them,
Mom shaved my head w/ the clippers
she used to line up my stepfather’s neck.
The machine plowed through the heath
w/ sharp steel teeth leaving behind bits
of legs & antennae in its metal grin.
Mom scoured my head like an agent
of pediculicide, side stepping the beginnings
of a rat tail I grew as a kid–a sign of a pest
in the eyes of those who wield a different steel
made for culling, made for cutting down.
Cover Art by Yunha Hwang