Mastication on the Mind by Rooya Rahin

Trichophagia / but they never called it that / just a bad habit / just a phase / just / she’s a kid / but in flashbulb, hindsight imagination 

I think / someone probably should have cared / a little more / that I was eating my own hair / gnawing on the ends like some / reverse fairytale beast / who gets shot by the Prince / hung head-wise in the castle / alone in this ruination

the woman at the salon calls me / a diseased little Rapunzel /with the / long / long hair / at the behest of mother / cutting short my youthful irritation 

it works / I assume / I can’t remember the last time I put / straw strands to lips / my teeth however did not get the message / my hunger for some alleviation 

leading / my mouth to my shoulder / sucking / into my skin / like baby to a bottle / like i miss my pacifier or the drooping corners of a small bluing blanket / I should have outgrown this years ago / I never did, in some lopsided maturation 

so we have a talk about how / good little girls / don’t give themselves hickies / instead / see me at 17 / sinking teeth into a boys neck / more wolf than little Red / mostly rabid / and every ounce of sober / in this wayward gratification 

alternative to a childhood bad habit / this pica of me to / you / gums chafed, aching to run crimson into skin / chewing into this pulsing space under your chin/ silk sugar house in the wilderness / and I am Gretel / older and sucking / how my front teeth drag / jaw sore / awaiting your subordination

I never chewed my nails / so as far as these peculiarities go / the worst of mine is / you / pulling me into every darkening woods / huntsman in your mind / don’t you know i am hunting you / pulling you into perdition / silver held to your throat / hand fed every bezoar / in this sacrilegious persuasion

at dusk / urging jaw /not to clench in the ferment / beneath my teeth / between your tongue / grinding resin and soot /until teeth go flat /and the inside of cheeks white/ swallowing the bile of this breathless twilight / remembrance of this bruxing fixation

dentition of the damning kind / my mouth / dark and longing / look at me / chewing gums / like chewing gum / so tender and torn / putting ice chips on my tongue / a search to placate this compulsion/ for some immutable consolation /

It doesn’t soothe me like it should

Rooya Rahin is a poet and politics nerd from Highlands Ranch, Colorado. They are a student at Princeton University and help run a weird little poetry group called Songline Slam. They have previous work in The Nassau Literary Review and the Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, as well as bylines in The Daily Princetonian. You can find them on Twitter @rooya_r and on Instagram @violet_booknerd. If you’re reading this, they’re glad you exist.