Home-styling. A poem by Mari Maxwell

To my hairdresser, I’m awful sorry
took the scissors and began
You’re panicking I’m sure,
even shuddering
Oh the grasp and oh the rasp
of blades through straw
follicles by follicles
Weed-whacked tips in the porcelain bowl
It would help if the blades were sharp
It would help too if I could distinguish
finger from fringe in the bathroom mirror

No matter my wee one says, it will grow back
We’re afraid to mention my styling efforts
when she was eight
Just a little trim
and a bit more
have to make it even
Locks of blonde tipped hair
nesting on the floor
her gasps
it’ll grow back, I say

I’ve watched the tutorials, studied angles,
top shears for DIY trims
keeping your strands shiny and strong
But the computer’s not in my bathroom,
quick timid cuts on the run between screen
and mirror

And oh the complications
short sighted, near sighted
over 50s
frames blocking wisps
scissors stabbing glass
bird’s nest, split ends, spilling, sprouting down my back
clutching my crowning glory as hairdressers do
fingers sliding up up up to uneven tips
scalp pimpled taut
then slicing into air
cutting in the wrong direction
dare I try with specs off

They say it’ll be July before you re-open
I doubt I’ll be first in line
All of us, manes dragging the floor
twisted, warped, out of control
Have I mentioned the skunk stripes
I’ve allowed to flourish?
Not a bottle of L’Oréal 316 to be found
And the way the neighbours look at you
at the post-box, the bird feeder, watering the plants
that knowing gaze
GAA goal posts were never so white
And those missed neck wisps you used to buzz cut,
that itched for days, the stubble stabbing my neck
I’d fit right in at the Farmer’s Mart
minus the rowdy eyebrows and nose hairs

So please forgive me my noble stylist,
and do do please, do your magic soon


Mari’s work has featured in Her Other Language, with Northern Irish Writers on Domestic Violence and Abuse 2020, Coercive Control exhibition with Wexford Women’s Refuge, Nov. 2019, Healing Words Exhibition in London, Oct. 2019 and University College Dublin’s Poetry Wall in 2018 & ’19. Her work features online and in print in Ireland, USA, India, Brazil and Australia. She is a 2019-2020 Words Ireland mentee. https://libartes.net/mari-maxwell-ceannbhan-magic/

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