I see her mane before I see
the rest of her,
long locks tussled and tossed
behind her head,
attached to the body of one
of those women who use their hair
She's nine years closer to girlhood
than I am,
her weekend wear
a uniform of youth
gold in ears, neck, wrists,
tight ruffled shirt, designer bag,
jeans and high-high heels.
Her eyes, perfectly gilted,
her cheeks, bronzed,
her perfume, dispersing a wide radius.
Her back is straight and grip strong
on my brother's arm,
guiding her towards our greeting.
At the bar, the mane
floats and flexes of its own volition,
vibrating with each shot downed.
I sip my chardonnay
and think about how
her hair represents a history
like counting rings
on a tree-stump.
The ends have been there
since she was about nineteen;
the middle, her graduation from college.
Where she met my brother,
about six months ago,
a point in growth could be marked
perhaps three inches
from her head.
An inch closer, they first slept together.
Up near her ears, their first I-love-you’s,
and close-in I can see
a hint of gray, covered up.
She quickly tucks a strand behind her ear,
and smiles at me.
My own hair is no history lesson,
only going back
about six months or so;
no match for these splendorous blonde tresses,
this heavy mantle of femininity,
attached to this possible future
About the artist...
Emily Madapusi Pera is a writer based in Providence, RI. She promises to be an excellent future sister-in-law. Selected credits include the illustrious back issues of Scout & Birdie, Tuck Magazine, Back to Print, and STORGY magazine.
Want to see more of Emily's work?
Check out her work from previous issues:
- On the Death of a Small Creature from Issue XIII: At First Sight
- Betray: Defining the Unwanted Friend from Issue XI: Diving In
- Indiana from Issue X: Home
- Erasure Poems from "Pointed Roofs" by Dorothy Richardson from Issue IV: Be Kind, Rewind
- Café Mysteries from Issue II: Messy
- Three Poems from Issue I: First Impressions