I Feel Such a Kernel Within Myself For Audre Lorde I shed layers of myself in the bathroom, my bus seat, When I arrive home, on my huipil, the woven fabric The colors of the rainbow, it falls in the sink When I am washing dishes, when I walk Between the fig tree with its rotting fruit And the orange trees with its green spheres That will turn sweet soon. I am afraid to wash My hair. I am afraid to lose all my hair. Audre Lorde wrote that the erotic is such a kernel within Herself. And it explodes. I am afraid of exploding. What happens When I release the vibrations of my scalp and hair and everywhere? The doctor told me it is called ophiasis. A Greek word. It means “snake.” The baldness near my neck And ears that slinks itself around like a snake. I am a Snakewoman. I am shapeshifting before your very eyes But no one can tell, yet. Audre Lorde says we’ve been Taught to fear the yes within ourselves. I am afraid to say yes To the snake on my scalp, slithering back and back and back. Handfuls of curls that clog the shower drain at my heels, feet, toes. The snakewoman isn’t afraid. She sheds while she wears a necklace of beating hearts.
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