show you love her

Ana C.H. Silva

 

describe her hair smelling of tarte tatin
the most vibrant dessert
but don’t say vibrant
say it smells exactly of tarte tatin

talk about how you loved
combing her hair
at the end of the day
dusty with flour

you’d comb it back
down into her hair
with a mother of pearl brush
from off-white to gray to lost
she’d become drowsy and say
it’s lovely when you do that

describe the strands as crow black or bear black
choose a fierce animal—
one with a beak or claws
not a friendly animal—
not a seal or a cat
because that would not be true

don’t mention if her hair smelled like
old chicken fat left in the cupboard
how the smell hit you each time
with the guilt you didn’t want to breathe

forget when you’re remembering
you never did comb her hair—
those strands both dry and oily
they would have stuck to your fingers
if you touched them
the brush was plastic and yellow

Ana C.H. Silva grew up in San Francisco and the Northeast. She has an MA in Philosophy and an MA in English. She is a teacher who currently teaches at The Spence School.