Some days the sun shines high from its balcony but not unkindly, like the hostess at a party scattering good luck coins and candy to the children gathered below. You used to cut my hair in the garden: I sat on a stool under the guava tree, with an embroidered towel fastened around my neck. Fringed across the forehead, my hair never grew past my shoulders. When the ends began to curl like upturned fingers against my shoulders, it was time to trim. The shadow of my head reflected in the kitchen window behind, or appeared on the railing. When you were done you shook the shorn locks from my nape, the flocked towel like a matador’s cape. One night you woke me from sleep and carried me on your back, walking through thigh-high grass. Where did we go? I do not remember, only that a south wind slammed the corncrib door. I open and close my hands. Sometimes I find a wispy hair, or a sweet; sometimes a coin whose currency has dulled, but not its glimmer.
For the sun’s approximate blaze, what
would we not do? Outline the gray sky thin
as an eyelid with smoky kohl, powder it
soft bronze. Sweater the tops of trees
in golden yellow, pin bunches of cerise
on the crumpled fields. Lob it a bangle
or two: what do those crows know,
dressed as always in their suits of drab—
on the first day of the year, gargling
like that 18-wheeler into town?