Learning to Love ______

I.

Jab, Right Hook

This is a poem: Be unafraid. It will travel like prose, because life is hard enough, and punctuation makes the word medicine go down. Maybe you are in the bathroom — I won’t say doing what — or making a cup of tea. Now that you’re here, let’s wander: To the attic steps, to the great gnarled tree in your memory, to questions unaskable. Where were you when Poe’s raven squawked? Not falling in love with poetry, and that’s okay. It’s almost over now, and I’ll slip in a quick anarchistic alliteration about alligators, then a simile you didn’t see coming like a sea mist moving over land. Now it’s finished. You’ve read the whole thing. The poet punches in: One, two.


II.

Roots

My hair is an ocean
emanating from my part,
moving in slow motion
waves toward my jawbone.
Root to tip it swirls,
sprays out in unlikely directions
which grow —
as evidence to this theory —
splashier in damp atmospheres.
My airborne ocean only associates
with my scalp as great frosting graces
an otherwise unremarkable cake,
churning over my ear, whisking away half
of what was meant to be heard,
tossing it shoulderward, as if
to prove that a woman is an island,
unto her own.
And like the sea this hair seems
most beautiful when left untrammeled,
unridden by boats of combs,
and brushes
and every six weeks when I go
my hairdresser doesn’t know
she is a captain
— a pirate
on a lost sea.


III.

Virtue, Misplaced

A bite of food I saved for you
Then ravished your tender heart.

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