Beauty From Ashes

Entry by: SuzanneB

10th October 2016

Sometimes there is a light at the end of a poem
that calls to all the other lights
at the ends of all the other poems.

When no one is looking I give this light to you,
rescued from the bottom of the bathroom trash
when I cut off my hair this afternoon.

I couldn't bear to look at myself in the mirror
and still see the promise of a future with you
somehow staring back.

My hair that you were supposed to tussle.
And grab. And wash.
Climb up in the middle of a bad dream.
Climb up faster in the middle of a good one.

Now I am me, again. The me from before,
with a gate of scissored bangs
guarding my pale head, precise
crown of brunette thorns to scare away
the touch of any lips to my brow.

I am myself again, before you.
The bench in the park. The water.
The afternoon I touched my head to your shoulder
and there were no lights at the ends of poems
because I was too full of living to care about poems

and, for one afternoon, you were too full of living, too.

You promised not to forget, and you forgot.
You promised not to tell, and you told.
Lafcadio's Yuki-onna in the summer.
(Who do you think brought this rain?)
Ariadne's thread near the garden.
(Why did you have to turn around?)

That there were lips doesn't really matter.

I brought this rain last night so I could stand
outside and not look like I was still crying.
I heard coyote's howling in the meadow,
close, and this morning found
a rabbit's foot on my front porch,
a rabbit's tail sitting beside,
the sweetbreads discarded in a grey mess
my parents left me to clean up after
with napkins and a bowl of warm water,
some sort of penance for calling
the wildness of you to the wildness of me.

I always knew she would come back.
The me before you who doesn't like
to be touched or talked to.
She was always waiting, in the dark
when I shopped for dresses
and fingernail polish,

when I talked to you instead of reading books,

when I forgot about the light at the end of the poem
to wonder if you were eating, or sleeping,
or breathing.
The catastrophe of regret can snuff out
the light at the end of the poem
but I only feel sad about having to step aside
and make room for her to push me
out of the way when I'm zipping up my dress,
to ask me why I keep trying to make something
from the phantom of you

who forgot the afternoon we cast
a spell on each other, an agreement
to live while everyone else is dying.

That there was not one kiss, but two, doesn't really matter.

Cutting my hair is not like Frida's hair
when she painted herself on a chair
after Diego left her one last time.

(Mira que si te quise, fué por el pelo.
Ahora que estás pelona, ya no te quiero.)

My hair in the trash, great handfuls,
golden at the tips, is the hair of a promise
I cannot keep.
The hair of remembrance
I'm too sad about to remember.

Elegiac hair.
Scarred hair.

Proustian hair.

But it will grow back if the woman I now am
allows such sentiment to rise again
from that very cold place

so I blow on my handfuls of hair,
warm breath almost as warm
as the inside of your mouth in an August past,
and I see an ember glowing in the brown.

The light at the end of the poem
if you only hold out your hand.