Strands: On Cancer, Hair, and Grieving a Stranger
“She touched my hair with fingers fluent in love.”
She cuts my hair one morning in her apartment in Brooklyn and I fall a little in love. It is the year when all the punks and queers and weirdos seem to get the same haircut where one side is longer than the other. Slanted hair in a straight world. My haircutter is a trans woman with auburn ringlets, Dorothy Allison books on her shelf, frilly dresses and stained aprons tumbling from her closet. When she puts her hands on my head and rummages through my curls, it’s as if her hands are planting something there in the thicket.
I forgive you
For Bryn Kelly
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I have never been anything but this ragged, medicated self; I have never been less aware of the ground beneath my feet.
“My mother assumed I must have done something to bring a rare blood cancer upon myself.”