At my mother’s waist I stood—head to hip
and sopping wet as she snipped the brown ends
from my hair. With sharpened scissors and comb,
she pared and chopped and in more regretful years,
bowled. Later, when I grew apart and lived alone,
mental appointments were made with her: dutiful
scribbles in unaccountable albums: the kitchen shears
at two o’clock. There is a lock of hair in the blue
baby book my mother stashed in the hope
chest with scrawling cursive reading first hair cut.
This is one of those memories that does not come
easy. There are others I lock away in the vast library
of my mind—secret shames I stash and keep, the time
I stood opposite my mother in a department store,
said fuck you when I wanted what she wouldn’t buy.
There are growths we cannot trim, weights that knot
and pull and stay. To this day I make no dates
with hairdressers, and as my mother is no longer
here, I stand alone, much taller than her now,
in the bathroom mirror with scissors and comb and rid
myself of what I can, these splintered cells, dead ends.
Alicia Hoffman lives in Rochester, New York. Her poems have appeared in SOFTBLOW, Boston Literary Magazine, Pirene's Fountain, Umbrella, and other fine places. She has two broadsides, Good Fortune and Losing Duende, available through Ink Publications, and a full length poetry collection, Like Star Dust In The Peat Moss, from Foothills Publishing.