falling hair

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: August 27, 2018

A A A | A A A

Submitted: August 27, 2018



falling hair


My Ancestral name should be Falling Hair;

images of

moments of

braids cut off –

hair cropped to scalp – tight closeness is burned into me somehow

in ways I don’t understand.


The Witness Blanket braids gut-punched me

so as to suck my breath out of me,

leaving me heartsick, dizzy, and gasping for air –

a sturgeon beached in protest of fishing hooks.


Residential school footage or photos –

that hair dropping to the floors awash in tears –

and screams of Ancestors,

make me hold my breath in the hopes that none of this is true

and we are all still whole.


The falling hair always makes me hold my breath –

grasping spirit to me with both hands,

fists clenched tight over broken hearts and promises –

desperately clinging to the song of




as if every prayer ever sung wrapped itself inside those




those raven filaments…

because, in fact, they are.


To be cut off,



cuts us all off from the whispered prayers of our grandmothers;

leaves us in ragged heaps

to be swept away in dirty dustpans

with hateful, best intentions.


My Ancestral name should be

Falling Hair

because even now I am bound to it all,

gathering all those prayers braided through me

like wild grasses in midsummer before the mowing…

when everything is still whole and beautiful.


 (c)R. L. Elke

© Copyright 2019 R. L. Elke. All rights reserved.

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