The Music of Comb Against Hair

I had not heard of this poet, but now I have and I can’t get enough of his poems. They are like honey in my mouth when I speak them.

Here is one that is like a dark purple plum eaten in bed after lights out:

Early in the Morning

BY Li-Young Lee
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 pins out.
Easily, like the curtains
when they untie them in the evening.
LeeLiYoung
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3 thoughts on “The Music of Comb Against Hair

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