The Head Towel

by Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach

A bruise, a plum, an amethyst:
it's all those purples now, and draws

your forehead up into itself, into a tight-
locked fist. This is how you show yourself

to me, all face and unchanged
habit. This is how I keep you static.

I used to dye your hair each month's
last Sunday, your natural shade at first,

and then with time from red to deeper
red, but it goes white so fast now,

I can't keep up. How to keep it
from turning in my hands?

Be grateful you have your father's,
you always said, forbidding I change

my untamed curls, running your fingers
through them, colorless, wild, but still

mine. How to give back what was given?
This is not remembering, but the way

I should remember—
flour dredged aubergines, the veined sky

as an electric storm stole our power,
and your face, mother, staring

through us both: it's all those purples
in the mirror, leaving us the other side
                                                                   of what it is gone.

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