Hot Metal Bridge

Current Issue : Number Twenty-Five

tank grrl


i don’t remember the night i cut my hair down to the skull and dyed it koolaid red / only that my mom, head bald from the chemo, said nothing but nearly cried / the girls at school said what happened / i liked it better before / the boy who gave me a glass swan at his birthday / messaged me on AIM every night / was for once silent and sullen / and all i wanted was to look like abby the busty livejournal blogger / a different neon hairdo every week / pallid and skateboard pretty as a real life tank grrl / but i am still bird limbs and slab chest / and no one will look at me now / the red-faced man in peets confirms this when he calls me my father’s son / my father insists the man was drunk / but i never knew an old white man who didn’t look through me anyways / i don’t remember what drew me to the blade / but when my hair was a river, every day of 5th grade the white girl grabbed my arm / stole my scrunchies / twisted my wrist as i dug my nails into her crushing fist / when my hair was a dark horizon, i looked too much like the two other asian girls in my class / or my mother’s portrait / or the endless comparisons to zhang ziyi flying across a silverscreen sky / i cut my hair with the same blades that some nights opened my flesh / so perhaps hair was a healthier sacrifice than blood / i don’t remember the night i made myself a new reflection / but i imagine the scissors singing / watch how i destroy myself / transform into something you cannot grasp

Jade Cho is a writer, educator, and granddaughter of Toisanese immigrants. She is the author of In the Tongue of Ghosts (First Word Press, 2016), and her poems have appeared in The Offing and Third Woman Pulse.