Joshua Merchant – Saloon In Search of Salon

Saloon In Search of Salon

she clicks her four-inch cerulean acrylic wands

for all of Her children, skin and kin alike, and for

a brief moment, I am at peace. there seems to be

a consensus on what energy is now; how to match it.

how it should be exchanged. a woman my own

grandmother would tell me to jump shouted

certified coon ass! and the oyster shucked for her

own amusement hushed the entire room.

what I would’ve given for one nail to have

picked me up gently. or clipped her ponytail.

slashed her tire, even. instead, before I quit,

I comedically stated we can all agree to burn

that shirt, right? it doesn’t belong in the store, let’s

just toss it! I must’ve uncorked her face- started

to drain and spin. paused halfway through; her right

eye grazed her hairline, and for a moment, I watched

myself shine and sink into her pupil. as a child

I’d follow my mother to the salon. never enjoyed

the smell of nail polish remover but knew

how to clean the dirt from under my nails.

Joshua Merchant is Black Queer (they/them) a native of East Oakland exploring the realm of love and what it means while processing trauma, loss, and heartbreak. They’ve had the honour to witness their work being held and understood in literary journals such as 580Split, Rigorous and Anvil Tongue Books.

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