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Now

In pictures her long hair swayed
as she peddled to markets,

fetched the day’s produce,
sung ballads with hair down.

It’s not just on the
bathroom floors anymore.

Her softness falls like piano dust 
on welcome mats and rice bowls.

I picture her knitting warm caps
to cover sparse baldness,

her knotted fingers worn
tough as steel sponges.

I touch her wintry cheeks
translucent as lychee hearts.

Her face is hollow without
eyebrows and peach fuzz.

I inhale her smell of lemon
and crystallized ginger,

her failing follicles are shorter
than eyelashes she’s lost.

Tomorrow, she will cast off
the yarn and shape her hat.

What she wears now covers her,
the lightest crochet of snow.





Posted 11/20/14
Published in When We Stood and Other Poems (Finishing Line Press, 2014).
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