The Time Had Come

I braided my hair today

after I took it from the box

in which it had lain for

more than forty years after

I insisted on cutting it for

the first time just before

my senior year of high

school because I thought

a senior year required a

sacrifice or change, however

one might choose to think.

That day the scissors opened

wide to slice through the

auburn river that ran constant

down my back every day that I

could remember, and when they

snicked shut, there sat a stranger,

a woman, holding my girlhood

in a limp puddle on her lap.

At school my classmates only

blinked and wondered why,

and I said it seemed like the

time had come, as it did again

today when I opened the box

and braided the hank like I

was standing in front of myself,

then carried it outside, nestled

it in the crook of limb and tree

and left if for the birds.

© Dana Hughes 9.27.14

One thought on “The Time Had Come

  1. These days, I find myself fascinated with images of change and letting go. Not sure what that’s about; perhaps changes in my own life and the letting go of things I’ve held onto for a long time. But that’s the sense that overwhelms me as I watch you watch yourself braid your girlhood and give it away. As always, your language evokes the moment so perfectly: the scissors slicing through the “auburn river”, scissors that “snicked” shut (what a delicious onomatopoeia!), the classmates who “blinked” in wonder, and the woman who holds her girlhood in her lap. The phrases bear such an agonized tension between intimacy and distance, as though twice in your life you are at the point of tearing away from your past–once as you cut the auburn river, and again as you made it a river again and gave it to the air. A beautiful poem. Such a delight.

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