Cheryl is currently an MFA Creative Writing, Poetry student at Oklahoma State University. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Tower Journal, Postcard Poems and Prose, Inkling, Stet, and Nota Bene.
Working Through It
like a knot of tangled hair,
I can only tease each strand,
one from another, until I am left
with a hundred broken curls,
and my scalp blushes red
from the yanks, which fades
within the hour. For days,
comb teeth graze the spot,
the pull a reminder
of glances through bookshelves
and zombies reaching for me,
skin hanging like seaweed
from their fists, like the belt hung
from yours the first time you hit
me and it was then I knew
I should cut
my hair or it
would be yours.
is like losing my glasses. Lips swirl
like cream in coffee.
Voices and furniture smear
together like watercolors bleed
onto a white cloth. Absence’s thumb
smudges the passing faces and shades
just outside the lines. How can I define myself
when I can’t define others? The world
tilts and whirls like a carnival ride
while I remain plastered to the edge.
My brain squishes against my skull
to make room for the rushing blood.
How do I find my way when I can’t see
the words beneath my pen?