Duke Trott

Self Portrait With Cropped Hair


After our haircuts, the sweepings would be scattered across the garden to scare away the rabbits.

I’d see them in the wood’s-edge sometimes—late at night. Their noses would twitch, recognizing the scent of panic, passed down.


Across the desert, the hair lay scattered, an odd, dark grass. I longed to pick it up and place it in my mouth, not to taste it, but to feel it in a different way.

What urge is unfit for poetry?


Look, if I ignored you it was because your hair was long, unkempt. Now that you’ve cut it, I think I could love you

She didn’t say that of course, but I felt it and believed it was true.


Her face holds a soft suspicion, I see it before any other detail as I move closer to her chair. Then other details fall into place, the brilliant green eyes that suddenly turn

gray, the hint of a smile, a dress decorated like a bookshelf.

I realize I’ve picked up lock after lock—I’m holding them as one does a bouquet, but I don’t offer it.

I want that freedom, I want the quiet strength of her posture. I want to live in her landscape, as an insignificant strand, forever.


I see the melody, the notes hanging in the air. I never learned how to read music, so I walk in silence and consider how, no matter how far I walk, the notes remain fixed above me.

Until they begin to fall like lazy rain. They’re ink black, and so is the hair,

and I’ve forgotten why I walked out so far, and where I got this suit, and the secret
                                                            she whispered before she sent me on my way.

Duke Trott is a graduate student at Emerson College. His work has recently appeared in Occulum and Nature Writing. When he’s not writing poetry, he’s usually reading comics, or researching tips for improving homemade bread. 

JD Thornton