My Motherís Hair
She lies in a hospice bed,
her hair spilled out around her head,
longer than I ever remembered, so white
it looks blue in the afternoon sunlight
pouring through the windows, glistening.
My daughter applies a damp sponge
to the cracked lips and tongue,
raises the head so the lush
hair leaps to the waiting brush,
relates all the dayís events
in a voice of great intensity,
just in case Mom is listening.
After a while, my grand-daughter, a nurse,
takes over, expertly pulls and smooths,
every stroke well-practiced and rehearsed;
this is not the first dying woman she has soothed.
My mother went to the beauty salon each week,
her hair a sea of lacquered wave and frozen curl,
but now it looks so soft along her cheeks
I could bury my young boyís face in its carefree swirl.
My great-granddaughter, age four, as though death is
leans to kiss my motherís face
with deep concern.
I lean toward the bed and hear soft singing, a lullaby,
and I resist the urge to cry
as I await my turn.