I went to the hair salon
They told me my hair was so healthy
No split ends!
Really well taken care of.
I went to the dentist
“You have beautiful teeth,” said the hygienist.
“Keep up the great work!” said my (female, notably) dentist
as she scraped at my $3-grand pearly whites
for 8.2 seconds.
I went to a Pure Barre class for the first time in 5 years
I was nervous
It’s a hard class
I was never able to hold the 90-second plank.
The instructor said “Great job, Madeline!”
into her microphone headset thing
in the middle of the abs round,
interrupting a Sia remix.
At the end of class she looked at me quizzically
“Was I doing the tuck thing right?”
A shifty glance away, then:
“Yeah, I mean you were perfect!”
(For the last 4 months I’ve been lying in bed
interspersed by long walks in the neighborhood
of my parents’ new house
– they sold my childhood home after
I moved across an ocean –
one day all I could do was lay down
into the grass
and stretch my arms
into the earth
grasping at the green blades
feeling the Southern sun on my limbs
hoping the warmth
creep up to my heart
clutching the dirt
please don’t leave me behind)
Licked my lips.
Flashed my great-work smile
I wish I knew how to let it all
fall to pieces.
How does one live life
so as to get split ends?
when they can’t hold a side plank
not measure their worth
by their ability to fit both carpe-dieming
and tidying up
into a Sunday afternoon schedule?
At the salon
the young blonde 20-something
cutting my hair
said I was so brave
I wanted bangs but not bangs
didn’t really care
(A week before my face was pressed
against the carpet
tears dried in a little matted spot
my stomach engulfed the rest of my body
until I felt like I wanted life itself to
just swallow me whole –
the carpet left funny marks on my face
– I wondered if the Sainsburys security guard noticed?
“Well, its just hair.”
What does release feel like?
Is it like that spot just so in the lake
when you pencil dive really deep
and at first its thrilling
but then kind of terrifying
because you start to actually wonder
if you are going to lose all the air
before you make it back up to the top?
I guess what I’m saying is,
once I memorized the whole prologue
to the Canterbury Tales
in Middle English
and recited it in front of my whole class
(and honestly I didn’t think it was that hard)
but if you ask me
the last time a friend has called me
I won’t have an answer
because I can’t remember
and if you want to know the last time I wept
I will say
as I folded T-shirts in his closet
and found that book on Japan.
So what I’m saying
is I wonder if Chaucer
who “found language”
– the life so short,
the crafts so long to learn –
sighed when the world clapped, too?