My new dog looks goofy,
and is smart.
I can do that.
And I do.

He can look well-groomed
and a mess.
Just like me.

People mistake him for a girl he’s so
pearly, pretty, fluffy. People take me
for a girl too, although before my nose job
The New York Times declared me
“handsome.”

Dancer’s hair—wiry, crazy, curly,
is like mine when I was little
and my mother could barely comb it,
ripping out the knots,
my tears a wall down my face.

As for Dancer’s tangled curls, thick
with foxtails, burrs and twigs,
I cut them out with scissors.
Painless. Progress.

Some days, my own hair, unruly, fluffy,
carries with it, down even to the roots,
my Mother’s dark opinion that it, and I,
aren’t pretty. And not good enough.