Split Ends

There are only so many ways to exist
as a black girl and I am doing them all
wrong. I am black. I am depressed.
I want a lobotomy.
So I swallow myself
Straighten my hair. Change my name
I am so a r t i c u l a t e
I try to introduce myself louder than my skin can
Louder than I’m allowed to be.
When I scream my voice pours out like brown-gold honey
I have made myself too soft
Too complacent
So I get box braids
Long enough to wrap around my throat
—And then some—
My braids a brown river—like rope
Under all this
My neck could just snap.

VANESSA FULLER Vanessa Fuller is a sophomore English major and creative writing minor at the University of Louisville. She plans on pursuing a M.F.A in creative writing after graduation and dreams of becoming an editor and poet.