One day an ordinary girl became extraordinary by changing her hair. She was a brunette. Or a blond. She definitely wasn’t a redhead because, as we know, she was ordinary. Her hair liked its new twists. It became musical, siren hair, jazz locks. People looked at her not only twice but with such sustained fascination, her hair noticed and decided to up the ante. Once her hair took over, no one could say for sure what would happen. One day, it became talons and snatched a small child off the pavement, or a poodle, depends on who tells the story. Some days, it became synchronized air swimmers performing miraculous routines of complex oxygen. If she crossed a street on those days, accidents would invariably occur. Some days, her hair was meteor and no one knew after she passed by why they had a sense of narrowly escaping death. Her hair knew. It liked its power. One day, she tried to tame it. It singed her hands. She never tried that again. On church days, her hair would be devilish, but when she danced wildly with an attractive man, her hair hung about demurely, frumpish as a spinster. Soon, she learned to just follow her hair. If it was wild, she was too. If it was a kite, she was a string. If it was birdsong, she was air. Her hair flew her around the small village, sometimes skyward, sometimes river skimming. Mothers tied scarves on their daughters, and smoothed down their own chignons. They knew trouble when they saw it. Still, her hair captured every eye, even baby Rose, taking her first steps, stared up into a tree to see her tangled there. Maybe it was just the wind that blew Rose’s crocheted cap right off her head and bubbled her with giggles. Maybe the gusts that rattled kitchen windows were no more forceful than they had ever been. Maybe the young girls only began to sneak out at night to see whether those were clouds across the moon or the streaming hair of an ordinary girl, just like them, who became extraordinary.
Late Morning in Bed
Desire returns unexpectedly as I lie in bed on a sunny day.
Voices drift up from the courtyard below, the musical greetings,
gravel footsteps synched with a language I don’t fully comprehend.
At first I only think how odd and funny, try to read, but the body,
well, it makes its demands. It must be given its due and
after all the sheets are so smooth and the reach not so far.
I stay discreetly under covers but the voices so near
make me feel on display, make me feel a flicker of wild,
make me feel oh comment va dire make me feel, make me feel
and I’m there. Then again, and just to be sated, again.
A woman’s laugh rises up and some low throated reply.
Those flirts, and me lazing here now, wet hand and all.
June Sylvester Saraceno is the author of two poetry collections, Of Dirt and Tar, and Altars of Ordinary Light, and a chapbook of prose poems, Mean Girl Trips. Her work has appeared in various journals including Blue Lyra Review, Worcester Review, Tar River Poetry and more. She is English program chair at Sierra Nevada College.