Telogen Effluvium

After my mom passed, I found a few strands of hair
on my shoulders/in the shower/on my pillow
It didn’t bother me at first because I had an abundance

to spare but soon I found clumps in my brush.
They released themselves from follicles
onto my fingertips until I was afraid to touch

my head. Couldn’t bear to comb the survivors.
Stared at my hairline hoping I was imagining
this new normal. I looked at photos of what my

hair used to look like a few weeks back: Thick and long
and lush. Damn it looked good. But I took that me
for granted and my bun got smaller and smaller until

I could wrap my hair tie around and around two then three
then four times. I bought vitamins and biotin and hair restorative
and Rogaine and nothing worked and nothing worked and nothing

worked and it was all I could think about because I wanted
things back the way they were before I realized how important
everything was before the shedding. And I wanted someone to tell me

when this would stop. That it would be OK. That I wouldn’t lose
everything. But it was OK and it did grow back and that’s not the
key here – because this wasn’t that important because

I have already lost so much and could still lose so much more.

Victoria Nordlund’s poetry collection Binge Watching Winter on Mute was published by Main Street Rag in June 2019. She is a Best of the Net and 2020 Pushcart Prize nominee, whose work has appeared in PANK Magazine, Rust + Moth, Chestnut Review, Pidgeonholes, and elsewhere. Visit her at

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