A Slow Decay, Ashley Webster
My substitute mom massaged her threading hands
As substitute dad typed religiously on his Blackberry
She claimed I was finally ready for my soccer game
and even asked me how I liked it
I dragged myself over the hotel counter to stare into the mirror
At the heart protruding out of the back of my head
I caressed the golden threads that felt scratchy like straw bales
My fingertips scraping over the taut woven strands
They traced the separation caused by my crooked and unlovable part
All the way down to the two braids that sliced open my back
I had finally replaced my infamous boring ponytail
But soon my cowlicks undid all of substitute mom’s hard work
Maybe my hair wasn’t meant for braids
Or the braids weren’t meant for my hair
Either way, I was probably meant for a simple ponytail
Maybe my mom could do that.
About the Author
Maya Greenquist · Missouri Southern State University
Maya Greenquist is a Junior at Missouri Southern State University who graduated from the American School in Japan in 2020. She is an Honors Biology Pre-Medicine major and plays Division II Women’s Soccer on campus. Greenquist is a huge proponent of the grey area between art and medicine and has been writing poetry that intertwines anatomy and true experiences for a couple of years now. “The Heart Braid” first appeared in Bordertown.
About the Artist
Ashley Webster · Christian Brothers University
Ashley Webster is a mixed media artist with an interest in printmaking and illustration that explores the relationships between people and nature. She is a passionate advocate for environmental education and tries to educate through her work. This piece first appeared in Castings.