I knew a woman who shaved her head
Releasing all outer beauty
To walk a spiritual path.

My red hair, my only vanity.

Now I sit in my kitchen
Caped in a black plastic garbage bag,
My husband looming with his clippers.
My sister flanks me
And my daughter peers from the kitchen counter
Courtesy of Skype.

I tug out a handful
To show the video camera
That it is, indeed, time.

We take the high road,
Laughing, joking, singing songs from “Hair”
While the clippers buzz my head like bees
And the hanks fall in soft pats to the floor.

The job done
I put up my hands
To feel a soft, slick ball
Between my fingers,
The ears like two obtuse handles.
A hairless newborn
With the fontanel closed tight,
Life pulsing underneath.


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