“Freedom Spikes” © Rebecca Thrush


Braiding My Partner’s Hair

I want to count strands. Take inventory of every color
as they shift in the light from your window. I work gently at first
and then use more pressure to coax each into woven.

I’m reminded of trying to braid my own hair
in my mother’s full-length mirror. How, from my own vantage,
pieces would never fall together just right. Pause to kiss your shoulder.

How I wanted someone to do that for me. To hold my head steady
and say here “let me braid you together.” Your soft star-glow skin.
Hair, dancing free of my attempts, slipping into its own laughing.

I try again and am delighted to. To love you is to braid each day—
to lay back and sigh as the sun unfurls his yoga mat—to feel
each corner of my body is mine and yours and mine.


Robin Gow is a trans poet and young adult author from rural Pennsylvania. They are the author of Our Lady of Perpetual Degeneracy (Tolsun Books 2020) and the chapbook Honeysuckle (Finishing Line Press 2019). Their first young adult novel, A Million Quiet Revolutions, is forthcoming March 2022 with FSG Books for Young Readers. Gow’s poetry has recently been published in POETRY, Southampton Review, and Yemassee. Gow received their MFA from Adelphi University where they were also an adjunct instructor. Gow is a managing editor at The Nasiona, a poetry editor at MAYDAY, and the assistant editor at large at Doubleback Books. They live in Allentown Pennsylvania and work as a community educator and LGBT advocate.

Rebecca Thrush works in property management in Worcester MA. Her poetry has appeared in Open Minds Quarterly, Coffee People Zine, and Wingless Dreamer; select works are also available online with Indolent Books, Coffin Bell Journal, and Oddball Magazine.