Poem by Kaitlyn Lafferty // Photograph by Harriet Donovan


letting go of

words i never


before i


standing in front

of mirrors

for hours

wanting to

trim my bangs

i told myself

months ago

i would

time seemed to


time seemed to

i’m looking

through bits of

hair falling

just beneath

my eyebrows

looking out of


when do you become

who you say

you are

high school

teachers explaining

how they teach

halfway in the year

after months

of locked in

of sleep in


skinned self

i say

i listen to this when

i am

writing in tiny


writing in tiny


writing in my

tiny voice

tiny sketches

with my barely moving fingers

of tiny

tired of

let me get it all

down before

i understand

the words on my


the curve

of the letters

that match

the arch of

your back

in salmon colored


i collect scraps

of myself

i am


i am


i am


i am


i am


i am


i have no way of



forget me


let me forget

letting go

to understand

i’ve never

let go

halfway in my life

i am this

i am this

i am:

when do you know what you

say is who

you are

when do you know

who you are

in scribbled verses

on palms

in sheets

on thumbs

on fingernails

when do you know

the words

you say

aren’t lost

in translation

when do you know

the world you see

is the world you know

you know

you know

is the world you see

high school teachers

explaining how they teach

halfway in the year

when do you know

who you say you are

is who you are

and not words of hope scribbled in

places you wish it were

bottom of feet

palms of hands

in my eyes


where my untrimmed hair rests,

when do you know

you’ve let go


Kaitlyn Lafferty

Kaitlyn Lafferty is a gallery host at the Denver Art Museum in Denver, CO. She writes and sells a really personal perzine called perpetual ambivalence about her misadventures and wonderment with all things life. Right now, she attends community college of Denver, working towards becoming a geologist. Outside of work and school, she is an artivist and organizer with a focus on energy justice and reclaiming emotions. She is passionate about nature, art and all the small beauties of living. If she could be any color at this point in her life, it would be a delicate shade of pastel salmon. Keep up with Kaitlyn on Facebook & Etsy.

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