2 poems by Danielle Wong


There are days she dreams
of being a period.
There’s rest in the end,
calm in its finality,
but all the letters 
get in the way in the day,
block her in her sleep; 
at best, she can be

a semicolon;

hanging onto thoughts,
never reaching cessation,
merely persisting,

tripping over letters
& commas,
& questions,

but the period, 
the end, escapes her 
day after day, keeping her 
here among us, while she trips
& chases the lines
the rest of us now control,
lettered criminals
hiding from her the ideal spot.

Obsessive-compulsive Trichotillomania1

Strands of hair on the 
	floor /	chair /	clothes

Reasons they're there (pick one):
	need haircut / aging days / self-inflicted

Compulsion to 
	twist /	pull / yank out completely

Pain equals
	holding back nails /swelling scalp / heartache where bald spots grow

Dream of 
	stopping / not starting /feeling good in my skin

Calm until thoughts enter:
	I'm doing something wrong - again
	anxiety - not good enough - again
	doubt worthy of any passion - again

Left hand sneaks up
	unnoticed / scratches back of head 	
	slips slowly away 
	grabs a small lock / grabs the tip of one hair

While listening or thinking
	wrap around finger / wrap around itself
	brittle knot firmly in place
No one is looking
	nimble fingers, nimble thumb
	tug gently, twist fast
	tug, tug fast
	twist, twist faster
	twist / tug / twist / tug / twist / tug / twist / tug
	ripple of calm floats through the body until
	ripraps build up, no
	riposte can save me
	ripsaw thoughts cut me in little pieces
Join the conversation
	movement picks up
	long strand now multiple knots not to be untied
	heat of eyes glued to my motions, not me
They notice and I 
	feel ashamed, guilty
	slide my hair strand in my pocket
	smile as if nothing happened
Voices start
	not real voices, but they do call
	please restart, do it again, again, again
Scalp throbs
	it calls me / it whispers
	the only way to stop this throb
	grab some hair, doesn't need to be much, and twist / pull
Scalp throbs
	the only way to stop this throb
	grab some hair, doesn't need to be much, and twist / pull
Scalp throbs
	but not on head
	not on head
End of day
	fingers shake / scalp swells / bald spot grows
	my shame grows
	shame becomes anger - anger at self
	anger becomes hatred - hatred of self
	hatred becomes a fist full of hair pulled hard
	and rolled into a ball of self-disgust

1 trichotillomania is the unnatural urge, or compulsion, to pull out one's hair; it is a mental illness that is common among people who suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder


Danielle Wong is the author of the poetry collection, Bubble Fusion, that portrays life with an autistic child. Her work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in Montreal WritesTipton PoetryPendemic, The Pine Cone Review, Chronicling the Days (Guernica Editions), Resistance (University of Regina Press), among others. Visit her at daniellewong.ca.

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