TRICHOTILLOMANIA by Michelle Lin

Trichotillomania

TRICHOTILLOMANIA
by Michelle Lin

Here is a girl with a mirror. She is separating
her eyelashes with a safety pin. Her mother always said
that 1 out of 10 girls go blind looking at the moon,
and 1 out of 5, pierced by a needle. So, in the end,
how many girls lose their sight? I was never any good
at math. I don’t understand how lines are infinite,
how hair inches forever from roots, always growing back,
never ending or starting. I once flipped stones in my yard
to find what lay beneath. Worms and roly pollies,
white in the rare sun. Pearly scales writhing their bodies
into perfect segments—line segments, just as bad as lines.
They make the needle that salutes, barely pricking the skin
of my eyelid, the handle of the mirror casting light
into my gaze. The cabinet shelves in the hallway
where my mother placed wedding photos just
out of reach, stairs she still climbs each night
to my father’s bedroom. The bars of the heating vent
next to my bed where I could hear everything. Did they
ever love each other? If 1 man and 1 woman lived
divided in separate bedrooms, how can they love each other
without loving each other? Segmented, segments, the one eyelash
that keeps me awake. I could sleep if I could only find it.


MIchelle-Lin

Michelle Lin is the author of A House Made of Water (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2017). Her poems appear or are forthcoming in Adrienne, Quaint Magazine, The Journal, Aster(ix), Phoebe, North American Review, TYPO, Apogee, and more. She has served as an editor for the journals Mosaic, Hot Metal Bridge, and B. E. Quarterly and currently serves as Poetry Reader for Twelfth House Journal. She has taught at the University of Pittsburgh, LEAPS summer program, and Young Writer’s Institute. She works for Asian Pacific Islander Legal Outreach in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Image credit: Xava du on Flickr

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