Published in Staple New Writing Magazine Winter 2000 issue
Car rays crossed the ceiling;
dazzled the Singer machine, scarves.
Tire hiss clung to the wet road.
Before the dark mirror
my sister cut hair,
in her white nightie.
Long brown strands
too much like our mother’s
drifted over her back.
Grandma’s shears creaked, flashed.
Inches fell to the shadows.
Sister always trimmed her tresses.
Blamed fashions. I held my tongue.
Grandma’s extra wardrobe closet
delicately perfumed the room.
In the morning a fringe
slept on her shoulder.
Grandma and Grandpa cleared throats.
They washed faces and talked low.
Where did she hide the lost inches?
Fuzz in the carpet stuck to my feet.
The kettle steamed, radio murmured.
Poking a yolk of a fried egg
her own once long locks.
As if sister’s belonged to a doll,
she said, ‘I should be cross at her.
Cutting off such a blessing.’
Source : Painting by Penny Clay