Hair Falling

to my aunt, whose strength and resolve in her battle against cancer gives all of us hope and courage

when hair falls into a pile it does not fall straight
the way it hung from your head
just moments before

the muggy May night hangs from
the streetlights      leans around corners     taps
on the large glass window with nail-bitten fingers soft

and uncertain then looks away

the group gathers inside while passers-by
brisk and late and biting their nails check their watches
check the crossing lights      check for keys

the group gathers inside      champagne glasses
raised to life      the muggy May night taps on the glass
then looks away      when your hair falls into a pile

it is so much more than hair falling into a pile

i brush my daughter’s blond-almost-white hair
and i think of yours (brown-almost-black)
piled up on that barber’s floor      she cries

as i untangle the knots pieces cling to the brush
wisps of it fall into my lap      i hold her hair tight trying
to protect her from the pain      impossible

when things are so tangled      so knotted

there is bravery there but it is not on the floor
hidden under your pile of hair      the buzzing shears
could not slice it away

you are no Samson      you do not hand over
your strength or blindly push down
the pillars      you are so much stronger than that

the courage has not left along with your hair
the courage is in you     shining
so that sometimes i must look away

9 Replies to “Hair Falling”

  1. This is beautiful, Shawn! Between you and Maile, I pretty much get my daily eye cleansing lately.

  2. I love you, Shawn. Your words are so touching and I’ll think of them often. I miss you and Maile and kiddos. You make my journey so much more creative and I love it! HUGS!

  3. Women and hair and cancer. The poetic depths of the interplay between those three subjects cannot be overstated. I wrote three poems about hair when my mom was dying.
    Good one, Shawn. Bringing in your daughter, too. Yes. That’s the way it goes.

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