“An abnormal desire to pull out one’s hair” 

by Dorothy Dickinson


It felt good to pull. Like slipping out of a pair

of tight stockings or watching a match catch

flame, the relief inside me building the way

water pressure does behind a worn-down dam

until my fingers, wrist, and mouth would work

themselves up into an addictive tandem. Like

sneezing or breathing, it was a need, a command,

to explore the tendrils, to taste the self, to bring

each hair, soft and slippery as a newborn bear

cub, to my tongue.


             And in the mornings before school, my

mother would sweep a comb across the remnants

of my curls to hide the baldness that spread, like

compulsive constellations, against my scalp

Dorothy Dickinson is a dreamer, newlywed, and tea lover from Holland, MI. She recently graduated from Trinity College Dublin with an MPhil in Literary Translation and has previously been published in such journals as Banshee, Algebra of Owls, and Typishly.


June 2018

© 2020 by The Esthetic Apostle