by Lynn Finger.
(CW: sexual scenario, religious trauma)
In “Red Hairband,” Kaitlyn Crow takes us into the world of the senses that play out between two lovers inside their parked car. Crow is beautifully visual in the description of this intimate moment. For example, we are shown, “muscles wrapped around a lean backseat lover, torn dress, discarded seat belt buckle burning lines into spine.” Personal details are revealed by Crow, such as the red headband, church bulletin and condom wrappers, and we are immersed in the physical surroundings of the communion between these two.
Crow shows us that sex and religious feeling have much in common: the awakening of the senses, the sense of surrender, the exploration of the other, and calling out the beloved’s name: “...they pledged their virginities and begged for Him to save their souls with hushed prayers and pursed lips, and she’s repeating that prayer now, lips miles apart…she screams save me save me save me.”
The passion of the lovers erases the lines where the body ends, but also intensifies what the body knows. The plunge into this sensual catharsis is told in two sentences, as if Crow were showing the breathlessness of the lovers they portray. Crow illustrates that becoming lost in this union is a sacred moment, and both transcends and is created by the details of this communion—the red headband, the freckles, and sweat.