I ate my mother’s hair
standing behind her, as she sat
on a stool in the shower stall
of her nursing home bathroom,
tile floor catching the silver snippets
I cut from her statue-still head.
What could I do with the comb
when I had to wield the scissors
with one hand, clasp her locks
with the other, Mother’s tangled
brain not letting her grasp that
she could ease my task, she could
turn her head when asked, hold the comb
and look in the mirror when I finished,
see what a fine job I did? Every month
for seven years, I stood at the sink
in that bathroom rinsing her traces
out of my mouth, the sadness.
Ruth Sabath Rosenthal, a NY poet, has been published in a variety of literary journals and anthologies. Her work was nominated for a 2006 Pushcart Prize.