This poem is from a book called Rose, by Li-Young Lee. Every poem in this book is lovely. I wanted to share a complete poem and while many in this book are short enough, it’s my husband’s birthday, so I thought this one was good.
Early In the Morning While the long grain is softening in the water, gurgling over a low stove flame, before the salted Winter Vegetable is sliced for breakfast, before the birds, my mother glides an ivory comb through her hair, heavy and black as calligrapher's ink. She sits at the foot of the bed. My father watches, listens for the music of comb against hair. My mother combs, pulls her hair back tight, rolls it around two fingers, pins it in a bun to the back of her head. For half a hundred years she has done this. My father likes to see it like this. He says it is kempt. But I know it is because of the way my mother's hair falls when he pulls the pin out. Easily, like the curtains when they untie them in the evening. copyright 1986 Li-Young Lee