At the holiday party, two people 
arguing about whether you start to count 
the 12 days of Christmas on Christmas day itself, 
or the day after. I’d woken up that morning 
in a panic, after a dream that a whole 
handful of hair on the left side of my head
came out in my hand. It looked like I’d just
had an asymmetrical undercut, which  
was actually popular way back in Edwardian
times. In the dream I debated combing
the hair on the right side over the left,
or tying it up in a ponytail. It was as if
the cause of hair loss was not as urgent
as the way it might now present. I didn’t 
tell anyone about the dream until after
I’d had a shower; as a child, I was told
you never made such disclosures
until after a cleansing with water,
as if the steam and spray could wash
away the ominous. If thunder 
rumbling in the distance meant 
the gods were rolling marbles 
or bowling balls or playing 
one of their games whose stakes 
we could never know, why  
shouldn’t I connect the dots
from dream to habit to helpless
waking-walking without any map?
In another story, a man sells
his pocket watch and a woman 
imagines the feel of a tortoiseshell 
brush as she runs her fingers 
through locks no longer there. 

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