you are not your hair it’s all political
drama, an intricate poking of brush
on canvas, of paint, of ink, black and light
brown—your skin, your blend of ethnicities is shadow,
and cuticle, nail, and bone a harvest
of marrow, tunnel, suction, severing —
dismounting—easy. claiming sides—easier,
but a climb upside down—takes grip. no one
allowed to touch, characteristics will hinge
on back and forth, to claim, to choose, to pick
sides. what other defining features will
you feature to define these edges
will shrink like the slow burn of paper,
and a shifting of colour—I’ll get used to the rippling.
you promised to keep it simple. Remember:
hair is entirely public;
but my background is not they’d say this hair
is a separate entity from the rest of my body.
Chelene Knight lives in Vancouver, BC and is a graduate of The Writer’s Studio 2013 in the poetry cohort. Chelene is a Library Assistant at the Vancouver Public Library, and Managing Editor at Room. Previously, she worked as a Manuscript Consultant through SFU, and as a proofreader at Montecristo magazine along with other editor gigs with a poetry focus. She has been published in Amazing Canadian Fashion Magazine, Sassafras Literary Magazine, emerge, The Raven Chronicles Literary Magazine, and in Room 37.4. She just finished her second manuscript, Dear Current Occupant, a collection of sonnets, prose poems, and letters which is forthcoming with BookThug in 2018. Chelene is now dabbling in short short SHORT fiction. Her first book, Braided Skin, was published by Mother Tongue Publishing in Spring 2015. Find out more about Chelene at cheleneknight.com and @poetchelene.