Back to Issue Forty-Five



for Abbie

That first time, I presented you my hemispheres,
my globe, as though defeated. No one but you
had seen my head without a hat for months now,

but in the bathroom’s ugly light, my scraggy scalp
was too exposed, the very air like forceps. I pictured
mapmakers in your pupils, documenting my head’s

irregular topography, noting scraps and tufts, the pale
spaces where it’d begun to look like nothing ever grew.
I shuddered. We were quiet. Then the razor’s buzz,

controlled steel burn, electric brushfire, and soon
I felt the curls pooling in my lap. You were steady,
gentle fingers guiding, combing, unfazed to touch

this part of me that felt so like a wound, unfazed
to delve into the raw of it. When my head was smooth,
brand new the way that hope is new, you kissed me

like you’d always kissed me. And when I said I looked like
Caillou, femme Steve Harvey, you laughed, the ripple of it
cool and musical, smile swimming in the bathroom mirror.

Gustav Parker Hibbett is a Black poet, essayist, and MFA dropout. Originally from New Mexico, they are currently pursuing a PhD at Trinity College Dublin. They are a 2023 Obsidian fellow, and their most recent work appears or is forthcoming in GuernicaBansheeThe Stinging FlyThe Missouri ReviewPoetry Ireland Review, Zone 3Witness Magazine, and Propel. You can also find them on Twitter (@gustav_parker) and Instagram (@gustavparker).

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