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In life Jen’s hair had never been so thick. Never would she have bought a kimono on which firecracker mums explode through skies of silk. “Tell me,” I begin, but my aunt lifts her chin, pressing a finger against her lips, and yawns like a cat. When I ask again, she pushes away air with the flat of her palm and refuses a beer, though she once loved to sip through rafts of suds to taste dark brew. Like one pestered by flies, she tosses her head, but, noticing my tears, speaks at last: “You will have to see ‘the moist lotus open along the banks of the Acheron.’” Had Jen met Sappho whose words she quoted? Jen who never read anything but bills and Sunday papers comes back from the dead educated. “Honey, the weight of new hair will make your scalp ache. Deliciously. You’ll drink Château Lafite with all those you have loved, and young Saint Laurent himself will make your clothes. The scent of jasmine will never fade. But not one of these things is worth it.” Kicking her hem as if she were dancing flamenco, she dismisses me with a kiss blown with fingers that once tied my ribbons.
Copyright 2018 Miriam Levine
Just found Miriam’s poem this evening, and it gave me the little lift I need to face the week ahead. Thanks for posting it on voxpopuli.
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