Here we are each morning:
my husband on our old kitchen chair, its upholstery
mended with duct tape, his head bent forward
while I comb out his long
wheat-colored hair. Not what I thought
we’d be doing in our sixties,
me dividing the wet silk of it, still stubbornly
reddish-gold, only a little
white at the sideburns. Three thick hanks
in hand, I begin to plait: over, under, over, under.
I don’t remember when he stopped
cutting his hair and decided
to let it grow long as a girl’s —
and he was mistaken for a girl once,
a tall, stoop-shouldered man-girl,
when he stood on the sidewalk, back turned,
and a car drove by, honking and catcalling.
At him, not me. We laughed,
but I had to wonder: When did his tresses, now
halfway to his waist, first spill
over his shoulders? It must have happened while we slept,
as most things do. And how did he come to sit
before me so patiently now, head bowed while I braid,
as if he were the daughter I never had
and this my one chance
to weave my care into each over, under,
over, under?