|laurie wagner buyer|
1. Copper Bracelet
Who bent these links one by one,
the smooth curves equal to the eye,
the way each one grasps another
as if to say hold on tightly?
Who gripped the tiny pliers to squint
into each ring as if to see
the mineral caught in rock released
by heat then poured in molten strand—
I find the jeweler hidden there
between the loops and spaces bent
beneath the grim task of making
something from nothing, the cold raw
metal substance made to measure
a wrist, the strength of centuries
woven into thin medicine—
yet how I let this trap my sense
of self, the silly notion that
I’m chained to something that I will
never know or see, the certainty
with which I’m bound to memory,
to sky, to soil, the sweating slave.
2. Wynn's Hair
Her mother tells me she loves to wear
her hair down and run like the desert wind.
Spooky as a colt she shies from the hairbrush,
won’t let her father’s girlfriend within reach.
Still she comes to stand near my flank,
quivering and hesitant, nostrils flared.
I place a hand on her bone-thin shoulder,
steady her, calm the fear of impending pain.
Tangled as a mustang’s untrimmed mane
the palomino strands are tightly twisted,
knotted into stubborn, intricate patterns
as complicated as a packrat’s winter nest.
She flinches as I stroke the outer snarls.
I speak quietly, tell her how my own hair
refuses to stay straight, insists on escaping
ponytail holders and meticulous braids.
Turning, she looks at me with feral eyes
that ask, “Will life always hurt this way?”
I pat her tensed back and set her free to play.
Intertwined mats and cocklebur wads can wait.
Later, from the steaming shower, she calls.
I stand outside the frosted glass door and wait
until she shakes her sodden head, squeezes
shut her eyes. Breathing hard, she sighs, then
stands still for the gentle scrub of shampoo,
the soft conditioning fingers that slide through
the unspoken issues, the unnamed wounds.
Her mother watches, tears in her tired eyes.