At Olmos Beauty Parlor
I made a dragon from foam curlers
(from big red to small purple)
while you tipped your head back
in the shampoo chair, relaxing
into the scalp massage.
You went platinum blonde
in the sixties. Hair like that
needs maintenance. Not to mention
your nails, which were never bare.
Even the week you died
they were sleek, cream-colored.
Mom, you'd be pleased: in my 40s
I've finally found a stylist.
You'd like her: she knows
everyone in town, she's got panache.
After your funeral, one of my brothers
gave up shaving for 30 days
(I'll bet you can guess which.)
And I went without a haircut
until the door of that first month
was closed behind me. Today
my stylist gave my hair shape
and trimmed my cuticles
and gave one nail a little sparkle
in memory of you. I emerged
with new hands, ready
to build something beautiful
in the world, ready
to hold my head up high.