It Starts with Her Awkward Hairline
by Patri Wright
the bit behind her ear, along the bone,
I accidentally on purpose stroke
as the comb starts to move freely. Her head
between my knees, a kiss on her lobe —
something she wouldn’t get in a salon —
and fingers that look for further lugs.
The part along her neck too, the transition
of neck and scalp, like beach and sea
where hairs grow upward. Once she
hid it from view, calling herself simian;
and now it’s a zone, one she says I made
for her, that wasn’t there before.
I kiss this too, following the teeth
and say: ‘Repeat: “I am beautiful.”’
She says: ‘You are beautiful.’ Still that’s
better than it was, as I work on her
one stage at a time. All that’s left now
is the style, and I start back with the comb,
fan out a fringe as she watches TV.
The filaments are the days we’ve got left.
Roots of silver I cover with cosmic blue.
And here an echo, almost unheard.
I did this for another. I was smaller.
We had an electric fire. She wore
rollers. And it was far from a chore,
rather utmost pleasure, untangling
strands until they flowed like rivers.
I still seem to know how much pressure
to apply, not to hurt a single nerve.
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