With left fingertips
phantom hair behind
her left ear
as she’s talking–
only grazing nailtips
over tufted scalp,
fingerpads maybe missing
the slipping into place of
what used to be.
She used to climb the frontyard redbud tree
unafraid to skin knees, shins
red as lipstick.
Her great-grandmother once was kept home
from the church carnival for having
rouged her knees.
She swipes right fingertips
across her brow
left to right
to whoosh away bangs
which once clung
undrape her face.
Her husband will not be
When climbing redbud trees
one might get spiders in one’s hair
or bits of twig.
Her great-grandmother was told,
when she bobbed her hair,
that she would never find a husband.
He used to split her hair in two halves,
smooth it down over her clavicles,
slip it aside, trace her clavicles with
the tip of his tongue.
With a swipe of an axe, a branch or
trunk is hacked. With vibration of blades
a razor shaves to roots,
red lips new nucleus of the face.
Her great-grandmother planted the
redbuds with branches in mind.
with the tip of
her lipstick tube.
When climbing redbuds,
one might get blossoms in one’s hair.