• Telogen Effluvium

    William Brewer

    Fall 2018

    Something happened
    said the derm after I explained how,
    for weeks, my hair kept falling.
    He said to think back a few months.
    I said that my grandmother died in August
    and he said that’s not traumatic enough,
    I said that my father had surgery in April
    and he said that’s too long ago,
    but that regardless of what happened,
    the shedding had stopped—
    and I felt briefly sad at the thought
    that what I’d just learned had begun
    was already finished, and how many other things
    were beginning that I had no idea about,
    and then, because of blond hair and freckles
    and my great-uncle having died from melanoma,
    he asked me to undress, stepped out,
    stepped back in, and how dignified it felt
    to be looked at like that, to be read,
    a record of past exposures
    becoming a map to possible futures,
    though I’ll only get to see
    the one of them, the one I’m in now
    as I walk into the harbor cove
    past clapboard and rusting lobster pots,
    out onto the spit of land
    where there stands the home
    of the famed local landscape painter,
    built almost two centuries before,
    tall and crooked, made of granite,
    with windows positioned
    haphazardly, or so I thought

    William Brewer is the author of I Know Your Kind (Milkweed Editions, 2017), winner of the National Poetry Series. A former Stegner Fellow, he is now a Jones Lecturer at Stanford University.

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