Lynn Domina: “Wreath”


Everyone who ever
brushed this hair
is dead, clippings
of her mother’s curls a girl wove
into a wreath, hanging it
like a watercolor or needlepoint sampler
in her family’s parlor. Now
it hangs on a museum wall. Women around me
admire how each curl
turns toward the next, like blossoms
wilting in an herbalist’s garden, mint leaves,
faded lavender, chamomile flowers with their bold gold centers.
Paths wind among vines, a labyrinth
to guide pilgrims. The girl

appreciated much, questioned little, trusting
God or nature or her mother
who would die of apoplexy early one morning,
her tea still steeping.

The girl’s daughters begot granddaughters,
great-granddaughters who wore their hair
bobbed, all these women
visiting an exhibit, crowding me
until I can’t keep
the dead safe,
steadfast, distant.

Lynn Domina is the author of two collections of poetry, Corporal Works and Framed in Silence, and the editor of a collection of essays, Poets on the Psalms. Her more recent work appears in Southern Review, Gettysburg Review, Kenyon Review, Saranac Review, and other periodicals. Domina is the creative writing editor of The Other Journal. 

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