Traci O'Dea
Hair Receiver

I. Grandmother

The crystal jar atop the vanity
held hair she gathered from her comb each day
after her hundred stokes. Once full, she’d stuff
a pincushion with the nest of blonde. The oil
from her hair would grease the pins.

II. Mother

In a drawer inside a jewelry box, I found,
along with fingernails and baby teeth,
the ribboned clipping of my first haircut
and touched the ends that sprouted from
my scalp inside her womb.

III. Husband

Before the chemotherapy, I made
him grow a beard then shave from head to toe:
armpits, eyebrows, pubic hair, and all,
so I could hold the strands of him I loved
that were already dead.


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