Split Ends: A Poem by Jill Talbot

Reading Outdoors


Split Ends


My hair is getting ridiculously

long but I can’t afford a haircut.

That makes you a true artist,

I was told, as if split ends

were a virtue, if they were

I would be so virtuous people

would be lining up to steal

my split ends and I would be left

with a proper haircut.


I may cut my hair myself, it needs

to be tamed. Celtic and Mexican

and every civilization in-between—

the Canadian dream—conquering

our wild instincts and driving artists

into a state of poverty and calling it


virtue. The virtue of expired milk

and fiberglass cigarettes is only

that we’re still alive and to others

that’s just a given. To me it isn’t

art or poverty or laziness—I just want


the dream before Vogue. I want the

Neanderthals but also a space heater

and a microwave.


I want to hold on

to whatever nation created

such hair that can’t be tamed.

To sail myself back

to where this started,

in soil. I want


the virtues of hypocrisy

and poetry. I want

to find their roots.


Jill Talbot

Jill Talbot attended Simon Fraser University for psychology. Since then Jill has pursued her passion for writing appearing in various literary magazines. Jill lives on Gabriola Island, British Columbia.


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