Featured Writer Gail Goepfert

For the Cessation of Cutting

Self-Portrait with Cropped Hair, Kahlo, 1940

The thing is, Frida, your hair’s a bed
of seaweed at your feet. You, again
with the scissors. Diego’s clothing, bloating
your figure, the fabric of his steely-gray suit

falling in folds from what’s left of you
after the cutting. You have sheared
the Frida of you. Let me take inventory.
Hanging from sleeves, hands, waxen

and doll-like, comatose and unfleshed.
Your hair, an ill-fitting skullcap
on your head above the long ellipsis
of eyebrows. No longer ornament, crown,

and distraction. I dive into your eyes
piercing like points of the scissors’ blades.
And yet, delicate earrings dip from your lobes.
Are you renouncing love, lovers,

your lover’s obsession with beauty?
You must quiet the lyrics that scroll
above your head—Mira que si te quise,
fué por el pelo, Ahora que estás pelona,
ya no te quiero. Who needs someone
who loves you only for your hair.
Promise. Cut away nothing
but wound and wound-maker.


About the writer:
Gail Goepfert is a poet and photographer and a teacher. She’s an associate editor at RHINO Poetry. Her books include A Mind on Pain, 2015 and Tapping Roots, 2018, and a third, Get Up Said the World, which will be released in early 2019 by Červená Barva Press.

Image: Frida Kahlo House (The Blue House), Mexico City by Rod Waddington from Kergunyah, Australia. Fine art photograph. No technical information specified. By free license.