I Ate My Mother's Hair

Ruth Sabath Rosenthal

standing behind her, as she sat
on a stool in the shower stall

of her nursing home bathroom,
tile floor catching snippets I cut

from her statue-still head.
What could I do with the comb

when I had to wield the scissors
with one hand, clasp her locks

with the other, Mother's tangled
brain not letting her grasp that

she could ease my task, she could
turn her head when asked, hold

the comb and look in the mirror
when I finished, see what

a fine job I did? Each month,
for seven years, I stood by her

sink in that bathroom, trying
to rinse her silvery traces out

of my mouth, the shards
piercing my cry.

Ruth Sabath Rosenthal is a New York-based poet. Her work has appeared in the journals The Aurorean, Birmingham Poetry Review, Connecticut Review, Creations Magazine, Chronogram, Eden River, Ibbetson Street, Jabberwock Review, Long Island Quarterly, Möbius: The Poetry Magazine, Pacific Review, Poetica and Poetry Depth Quarterly; as well as in the anthologies Voices Israel, primal sanities! a Tribute to Walt Whitman and Songs of Seasoned Women. In 2006, her poem "on yet another birthday" was nominated for a Pushcart Prize by Ibbetson Street.


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