Silver pelage. Static cling
Velcro mouth gulping my life.
My hair, a pantry of my days.
Famished patron of my past.
It shows in my sheen, the shine
Of a clean plate.
Baby hair matted with egg,
Pureed peas, sour milk, spaghetti sauce,
Bits of cereal. Mom’s cleansing spit
Over my crown. Kisses planted
In the soil of my hair. Luster of life
Grows into a hungry coif.
The long stems of flowers
Woven into braids. My first perfume,
Splashes of hot lavender baths,
Swashes of wet polish, and Dippity-Do
Cling to my curls and create a crown
Of a complex banquet.
Grandpa’s musty garage, his yard
Of lake breeze. The smell of sand
Tangles my hair into my mouth.
The steam of Grandma’s fried sausage, rising dough,
Stewed chicken, spilled honey from toast,
Dad’s Old Spice snared by my hair.
Sweat from the Ex’s hands
His bad breath on my frizz.
Bloody spittle of squabble,
His ashtray, blight of air,
Day-old wine and stale beer
Linger on my dead ends
Mother’s ambrosia steeps
My life, the whiff of her red lipstick,
Her aromatic apron, her savory hugs,
Her last breath as I held the phone
To her ear for goodbyes. The anguish
Of her affliction infuses me.
My hair swells fragrance
Of holy spring rain. Tiny fingers of new leaves
Sniff of pin oak to my roots. Sticky juice
Of tomato vines cling to my gray locks
As I reach for the fruit. Strands of silver
Extend from cloud. The scent of sun.
OCTOBER 2021 AUTHOR OF THE MONTH at Spillwords.com
Barbara Harris Leonhard is a retired ESL Instructor who has regained her poetic voice. Her work appears in Free Verse Revolution, Spillwords, October Hill Magazine, Dark Poet’s Club, Vita Brevis, Well Versed 2020, Silver Birch Press, Amethyst Review, among others. Barbara earned both third place and honorary mention for two poems in Well Versed 2021. Barbara is currently marketing her first poetry collection, Three-Penny Memories. From that memoir collection, her poem “Cooking a Life with a Wire Spine”, was nominated for Publication of the Month at Spillwords Press in August 2021. Barbara’s blog - Extraordinary Sunshine Weaver. Her poetry podcast - Poetry: The Memoir of the Soul.