“I Ate My Mother’s Hair,” Ruth Sabath Rosenthal

by MP

standing behind her, as she sat
on a stool in the shower stall

of her nursing home bathroom,
tile floor catching silver snippets
I cut from her statue-still head.

What could I do with the comb
when I had to wield 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.