So I could know if it was true -
if this was really love -
I left in her braid for a full week,
felt the invisible influence of her fingers on the back of my head,
that most intimate embrace, of the trusted caressing the blind

3 days 5 days 7 days after

3 5 7 5 3
(I live my life according to the constraints and metres of a new and unknown
form of poem)

grease and oil amassed, scalp dripping
leaving marks against wall and window when I lean my head against them

flakes of skin falling

pimples forming around the edge of my forehead and ears, along that timberline
where hair meets skin, rashes developing like a blasted lunar landscape

beneath the impenetrable mat/te of hair
no nail can reach that itch

when my hat is not on
I remark that my head is starting to resemble
some sort of colossal cheese
in smell that is
a round left in the sun
between my shoulders.

glabrous, scabrous
my head is a giant mushroom!
birds pick at my bulbous bouffant
underneath a gibbous moon

I pull out great handfuls and toss them to the wind

finally, twisted filaments, fallout fried and scorched from abuse,
fitfully reaching out like the last grasp of a dehydrated mollusk

handfuls of hair coming out in my hands as I loosen its bonds at long last

and examining these symptoms, this devastation, like a doctor in Kiev,
in Hiroshima, with the detachment of a shadow burnt into a wall,
I agree that there is only one force on earth capable of doing this

and it sounds to me that maybe yes, perhaps this really is love.

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