What We Have to Ask Permission For

Chrissy Martin | Poetry

What it means when the holes of pantyhose sprout 
spiderlegs. What it means to be a girl with billowing  
brows. What it means to ask a father to cut 

the hair from your own body. The line that portions 
which parts of your body are yours. What changes 
can you make: flip a hair part, do not dye it;  

try 3 ponytails, do not cut them; smooth a lotioned  
leg, do not graze with a razor. Run your finger  
along the length of a blade to clean it, realize 

this is pain. This change to the body is allowed 
because it is accidental. You ask your father 
if you should ask him about shaving a leg 

and he doesn’t know either. He teaches you 
the type of division he knows: an electric razor— 
a guard, so the hairs are trimmed but still trilling 

through skin. Singing. Rugged on a face, 
but on your legs, they are precise, spiked, 
your father guiding the razor to knife. 

This old fashioned microphone buzz bouncing 
off your shins, bathrooms walls. Speak.  
Let it move where you say move.