Poems of Motherhood
Tamar's Deer-Like Run
Almost every day in the morning
she calls me to braid her hair
in front of our mirror in the hallway.
I stand behind her, we look at each other
in the mirror and I’m told to
make it good, make it tight.
I hold her heavy dark fruit-scented
ponytail, stand on tiptoes to part her hair:
one source and three black waterfalls.
My fingers interlace with hair and listen
to the weaving rhythm:
Under center over under center…
The strand on the right as it passes under
the one in the center says:
Listen, to love and to let go is the only way.
the strand on the left curves under
the one now in the center and says:
Can’t we hold for a while before we let go?
And the third strand shifting over
to give up its space says:
The best way is to love and to hold on,
the letting-go part is for the birds.
Under center over under center..
I braid my daughter’s hair;
the making of this shiny spinal cord
now dangling between us.
My work is done
when I know that this braid is a good braid
when I kiss the tassel of her hair
:: Design by Waterman
:: Logo woodcut by Barbara Leventhal-Stern