afterwards, instead of cutting my hair i let it grow long.
down to my hips
and then to my feet
so that when i walk it drags along the ground,
sweeping up grass and
tin foil

i use it like a blanket on cold nights
and a tablecloth when i make myself breakfast–
frozen strawberries that bleed
lusciously as they thaw.

the ends grow brittle,
sharp and animal.

i used to be smooth and now i am not
during a mutant february
i wish for someone
to make me sweet again,

but i know that there is time
to be soft
and time for ferocity

one day, later, i will shear
the hair from my head
in long tangles it will fall
to the floor and i will let

myself be skin, be seen

but for now i walk knowing

all that i need i have within me

all that i am was born inside me.

By Mitali Desai