Monica Hand

A shrunken head in the museum has more --
my son, who I thought would lose his
at an early age has more -- than me, 
cursed with female baldness, my crown hairless,
arms, legs, underarms, even pubis.
What wicked gene decided me?
My skin and scalp sweat profusely,
but I have no hair to catch my scents,
no hair to reveal my openness.
Without hair is my female body still
womanly? Does my hairlessness
(unclothed in your bed) feel like a child
less savage, more neutered than female
-- the reason for your refusal?


Monica A. Hand, author of me and Nina (Alice James Books, 2012), is also a book artist. Her poems have appeared in numerous publications including Aunt Chloe, Black Renaissance Noire, Naugatuck River Review, The Sow’s Ear, Drunken Boat, Beyond the Frontier, African-American Poetry for the 21st Century, Gathering Ground: A Reader Celebrating Cave Canem’s First Decade and American Creative Writers on Class.  She has an MFA in Poetry and Poetry in Translation from Drew University and has attended residencies at Poets House in New York and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown.  A Cave Canem alum, she is also a founding member of Poets for Ayiti. Currently she is a PhD candidate – Creative Writing – Poetry at the University of Missouri- Columbia. 


Issue 12

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