David Mohan: “My Mother’s Red Hair”


It was always there—suspicion
in each photo—fox glimmer
ghosting the landscape’s underbrush.

In our childhood you wore it long,
the loose silk of it forever
framing the outskirts of your face.

Later, daring, you chopped it short,
then grew it out, curled, then cut back—
a fire you sparked, then extinguished.

Much older, you used henna cream,
drawing from boxes of russet paste
to raise scarlet autumn with shades.

Embers stirred up alive again,
you made a habit of your craft,
feeding your grey with auburn tints,

your white with red-gold undertones,
until one day unable to rouse flame,
you lay on your bed defeated,

your faded face lost in the ashes
of the hair laid on your pillow.

David Mohan is a poet and short story writer based in Dublin, Ireland. His poetry has been published in Cincinnati Review, Spoon River Poetry Review, Ninth Letter, Superstition Review, New World Writing, and elsewhere.

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