Self-Portrait as Anything But Red
I bleached it until it fell out, dyed it black
to match my fingernails while listening
to Bauhaus in the downstairs bathroom.
Just as I once tried to erase a desire for men
by listening to the 2nd Chapter of Acts.
The entire year I lived in Germany I wore
a gray felt cap, hid under its backward brim,
partly because I was afraid to speak German
at the hair salon (I’d heard tales
of the student who said short only to find
everything shaved when she turned around)
and partly because I was too poor
for hairspray. We all fear saying the wrong thing
at the right time. Whenever someone
praises my German accent, I blush.
The woman at the ticket counter in Frankfurt
looked confused when I handed her
my passport, said, even your haircut looks Germa