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Unbraiding Her Hair This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

She is unbraiding her hair,
my mother,
as the comb waits
like a guitar waits for a virtuoso

A hand,
a tan hand, soft and smooth,
comes reaching into the crystal vase
like a bird swooping down to get its
breakfast from the ocean,
grabbing a fish to leave in its jet-black
nest of hair
that is more black than charcoal spread across a blank page,
but shiny and soft like the finest Indian gold.

In the mirror she sees her face,
flushed beneath a tangled mess of hair,
and yet she still looks beautiful,
like an abstract painting,
colors everywhere, no organization –
just beauty.
She combs her hair, each stroke having
a rhythm
like the strumming hands falling across
guitar strings.

She has just come home from work,
her cheeks as red as cherries
thanks to the wintry cold.

She gets herself a glass of water and comes up.
I watch her as she ascends the stairs slowly and wearily, tired from work.
She sits down on my bed, sighing.
I look at her face –
it's vibrant and glowing.
She says she's tired, but I look at her eyes –
they are saying something different;
they tell me she is joyful and excited.
My brother asks why they aren't as tired
as she is.
She says it's because she's glad to see us.

I cover my face with my blanket
and think of her in bed beside my dad.
Dad, holding a cup of warm, caramel
colored tea beside him,
my mother on his opposite side –
behind her, a pillow;
on her lap, a laptop.
Her hair, loose now,
slips behind the pillow.
Click, sip, click, sip
are the sounds I hear …
When I listen.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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Priti said...
Oct. 14, 2011 at 12:04 pm
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