Angel Hair
by Shawn Aveningo

Farrah Fawcett’s “Do”
swept through Midwestern suburbia
like a cyclone.

I was thirteen
when I found myself catapulted
into quests for pop-icon beauty.
I bleached. I curled.
I colored. I ironed.
I fought each strand after fly-away-mousy-brown strand.

I lost.
Never quite the angel I believed
I should be.

* * * * *

The doctor tells me
the side effects can be severe:
Nausea. Taste of metal.
Lack of libido. Loss of weight.
Loss of hair.
     Loss of hair.
          Loss of hair.

I am thirty-three.
I fear losing myself
with each pass of the clippers.
Strand after fly-away mousy-brown strand
floats down to my feet.

The side effects can be severe:
Discovery. Hope.
Courage. Survival. Resolve.
I am not my hair.
     I am not my hair.
          I am not my hair.

And not an angel.

SOURCE: “Angel Hair” first appeared in MUSED.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: I tried to find a photo from the past — crazy big hairstyle.  This one is of me with my twin girls from back in 1992. I probably used an entire can of Aqua-Net that day. 🙂
(Credit: Olan Mills, Atlanta, Georgia, 1992.)

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I often enjoy combining my own memories with life stories of the people around me, whether they be friends, family, or strangers. I try to imagine a new experience as if I were living it and often write my poetry from the narrator’s point of view in first person, which tends to make people wonder if it’s a true story or not. “Angel Hair” is a one of those mixtures of self truth and imagined circumstance — the reader gets to choose which is which.


Shawn Aveningo
is an award-winning, globally published poet whose work has appeared in over 80 literary journals and anthologies, including LA’s poeticdiversity, which nominated her poetry for a Pushcart Prize. She is cofounder of The Poetry Box®, managing editor of The Poeming Pigeon, and journal designer for VoiceCatcher: a journal of women’s voices and visions. Shawn is a proud mother of three and shares the creative life with her husband in Beaverton, Oregon. Visit her at