Her Hair, a Braid

by Tina Barry

Her Hair, a Braid


Lips wavy in the chrome teapot's reflection,

you mouth for-ty, slowly, and again,

for-ty, as if it were a word discovered,

not the years since your mother's death.


Would it help if I mention the boxes

in the basement?

She's there, in a tin, loosely wound

beneath sepia tissue paper, a braid

to worry in your fingers.


I want to tell you I wore a coat

today with a fur collar

like your mother's mink pelts.

Black and oily, they smelled

of crowded ships and herring,

wood smoke on snow.