Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Find the mirror taller than yourself (the one that looks like a narrow door). Escort it to a clear space, and lean it against a wall. Collect a newspaper, and unfold its delicate leaves to cover the floor. This is where you will sit: on this rectangle, on layers of paper, gazing into the silver mirror.

Find the comb. Tug it through your hair, like threshing grain. Feel the pulls of tangled strands sharp in your scalp. When your hair lies smooth and parted (docile), clear the comb of its web of hair. Tease one silken strand through your fingers. Then throw the whole tangle away.

Find the scissors. Make sure the light is on, and the door is locked.

Sit down. The mirror will stare back at you. Pay it no mind. The scissors will be reluctant. Pay them no mind, either. Take them in one hand, and drag the fingers of the other hand through your hair again. And then cut.

Hair falls around you, in clumps like mown grass, and in small rains, and like grains of sand dribbled between the fingers. It outlines your body on the paper. The scissors grow ever more truculent, but the silent mirror suspends judgment, and you keep cutting. Trees lose leaves with the changing seasons. It is only fair for you to change, too.

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