Poems of Motherhood

Tamar's Deer-Like Run
For Tamar

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

Esther Kamkar, Palo Alto, California artist and poet. Poems, poetry, writing, published works - footer logo

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