The way her hair falls.

Early in the Morning

While the long grain is softening
in the water, gurgling
over a low stove flame, before
the salted Winter Vegetable is sliced
for breakfast, before the birds,
my mother glides an ivory comb
through her hair, heavy
and black as calligrapher’s ink.

She sits at the foot of the bed.
My father watches, listens for
the music of comb
against hair.

My mother combs,
pulls her hair back
tight, rolls it
around two fingers, pins it
in a bun to the back of her head.
For half a hundred years she has done this.
My father likes to see it like this.
He says it is kempt.

But I know
it is because of the way
my mother’s hair falls
when he pulls the pins out.
Easily, like the curtains
when they untie them in the evening.

— Li-Young Lee

5 thoughts on “The way her hair falls.

  1. Hi Gretchen! Thank you for your visit and sweet comment on my blog, This poem is so lovely. It reminds me of my sweet mother who has been with Jesus now over four years. She wore her hair in a bun everyday of her life and I can close my eyes and visualize her as she twisted those long strands around her finger as she rolled it. Have a good evening!

    Like

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