At the age of seven,
sitting at a family campfire,
Connie, my father’s sister,
tells me, People would kill for your hair color.
She demands I never dye it,
never cut it,
as her box blonde stains jealousy into her brown roots.
as penitence for my abortion,
I cut it so short my ears turn red from cold
when it snows and I always wear a hat.
For a time, I miss being beautiful.
my regrown hair is the only way
my babcia remembers me.
Sundried, saltwater, island blonde,
straight down, never tied back.
Box blue at thirty-two,
I would like to remind you,
that I grew up not knowing that people would kill
but people did kill for my original hair color.
When my sister has children,
she has two girls and a boy.
The youngest, Emma,
has the same color hair.
Lynne Schmidt is the granddaughter of a Holocaust survivor, and mental health professional with a focus in trauma and healing. She is the winner of the 2020 New Women's Voices Contest and author of the chapbooks, Dead Dog Poems (forthcoming from Finishing Line Press), Gravity (Nightingale and Sparrow Press) which was listed as one of the 17 Best Breakup Books to Read in 2020, and On Becoming a Role Model (Thirty West), which was featured on The Wardrobe's Best Dressed for PTSD Awareness Week. Her work has received the Maine Nonfiction Award, Editor's Choice Award, and was a 2018 and 2019 PNWA finalist for memoir and poetry respectively. Lynne was a five time 2019 and 2020 Best of the Net Nominee, and an honorable mention for the Charles Bukowski and Doug Draime Poetry Awards. In 2012 she started the project, AbortionChat, which aims to lessen the stigma around abortion. When given the choice, Lynne prefers the company of her three dogs and one cat to humans.