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from the September 2015 issue


I cut my sister’s hair today
the locks fell like huge tears against the baseboards
I swept it up and tossed it in the trash
All that dead hair has filled my dreams
One day I dreamt of dead hair  The strands all joined back together
They ganged up and demanded I account for my sad deed
I was silent, dumbstruck
The dead hair insisted: Are you there? Why did you butcher me?
I gathered up the hair and my sister’s face appeared floating in the distance
Why did you throw my hair in the trash?

The head of hair demanded food and also water lots of water

But my hands were tied                        I couldn’t give it water
My legs did not hop to             I couldn’t go looking
My breasts were dry                 I couldn’t give it milk
I was stiffer than that dead hair I cut
Or deader or maybe I had died and didn’t know it

My sister took pity on me on my silence
She calmed the head of hair
She spoke to it sweetly like it was a little girl
She insisted it rest        that it sleep in my dream
Basically          that it stop fucking with me
After all what is a mother if she doesn’t say those things

I must learn from her how to be a mother
I must imitate my sister in order to be her mother

Am I a mother or am I just imitating a mother?
Maybe I just play at motherhood like a parody practically a joke
Anyway I have no child to legitimize my postpartum condition

What to do?
Everything I write boils down to two or three words
Mother Daughter Sister
A trinity Psychoanalysis failed to foresee

My sister-daughter
My daughter-sister
She appears in my dreams
She’s real and she looks at me with plaintive eyes:
Why did you throw my hair away?

"1-02" © Victoria Guerrero Peirano. By arrangement with the author. Translation © 2015 by Anna Guercio Rosenwong. All rights reserved.

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