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.
Barbara Leonhard is a writer, poet, and blogger at Extraordinary Sunshine Weaver. Her podcast Poetry: The Memoir of the Soul explores universal themes such as Grief, Kindness, and Presence. She taught writing for many years at the University of Missouri and is the author of Discoveries in Academic Writing. She is also a regular contributor to Free Verse Revolution, PhoebeMD, and Go Dog Go Café.