What We Have to Ask Permission For
Chrissy Martin | Poetry
What it means when the holes of pantyhose sprout
spiderlegs. What it means to be a girl with billowing
brows. What it means to ask a father to cut
the hair from your own body. The line that portions
which parts of your body are yours. What changes
can you make: flip a hair part, do not dye it;
try 3 ponytails, do not cut them; smooth a lotioned
leg, do not graze with a razor. Run your finger
along the length of a blade to clean it, realize
this is pain. This change to the body is allowed
because it is accidental. You ask your father
if you should ask him about shaving a leg
and he doesn’t know either. He teaches you
the type of division he knows: an electric razor—
a guard, so the hairs are trimmed but still trilling
through skin. Singing. Rugged on a face,
but on your legs, they are precise, spiked,
your father guiding the razor to knife.
This old fashioned microphone buzz bouncing
off your shins, bathrooms walls. Speak.
Let it move where you say move.
Chrissy Martin is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Poetry at Centenary College of Louisiana. She holds a PhD in poetry from Oklahoma State and an MFA in Poetry from Columbia College Chicago. She is the Poetry Editor and a founding editor for Arcturus. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Harpur Palate, Cherry Tree, Crab Creek Review, and Carve Magazine. Find her at chrissymartinpoetry.com.