Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer
And so I pull the purple comb
through my son’s thick hair,
the same way I’ve seen
the stylists do at Great Clips.
Wet the hair. Comb it through.
Part it. Hold it between
two fingers. Cut vertically. Snip,
and his hair falls to the floor.
Comb it through. Snip. Snip.
We both know that I
have no clue what I’m doing.
So we laugh as the hair
piles up on the floor.
We chatter, the way
a stylist and customer would,
talking of school and his friends
and his unruly cowlicks. Snip.
I remember that time
I was trapped underwater
by the river’s hydraulics,
how I stared up at the light
shining through the surface
and thought, I don’t think
it’s my time yet to die.
And the river spit me out
and I swam hard as I could
through the rapid toward shore.
I don’t think it’s my time yet
to die. Nor my son’s. Though
all around us the news of dying—
the numbers increasing every day,
stories of beloveds who are gone.
We ask ourselves, how do we
go on? And meanwhile, we do.
We go on. And because my son’s hair
is too long for his taste,
I learn how to cut it by cutting it.
How much more will we learn
as this goes on? How to share?
How to grieve? How to let go? How to live?
And meanwhile, life spits us out
into sunlight, and we come up into another day
spluttering, gasping, surprised
we’re alive, and we swim, what a gift
to find we’re still swimming.
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