Pull my hair, it will fall out.
Once I had a friend
whose long body, beautiful though,
became so alien to me
I could not bear to touch her.
Our twisting dialogues pulled apart and settled
in typed and folded words.
She and I were strangers,
though her duvet knew the dampness and salt of brown-eyed tears,
leaky noses and the sweat of my palms.
It was the outline of her underwire that made me crave maturity.
She was strength;
a splinter, a stiletto, a smooth edge in my company.
Idols are sharp in that way ⎯
set on pedestals whittled to points.
Loyalty tied cords around our wrists and I held her hand.
In pulling towards her, I was bound less tight;
collapsing into myself, creating sacrificial space and calling it freedom.
I know the difference now.
Contrived affection is a pen to lock myself into,
but the bait no longer tantalizes me into blindness.
I claim emancipation,
and I am so. She is a woman and a parable
buried in the skin of my head.
I have tugged her length out of my nerves and veins.
Pull my hair and my body lets her go;
opening the follicles, a stinging gesture of release.
Pull my hair, she will fall out.
Norah Palmer is a deliberate feminist killjoy and accidental houseplant murderer. She was grown in the Willamette Valley of Oregon where she attended the Young Writers Festival for five consecutive years. Norah currently lives in New York City, which has far less trees than she’d prefer.