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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