Note that this pic only suits the poem in the most metaphoric way.


It felt as if she’d put a fake eyelash
on her whole head, as if her whole head flirted
with the world, batting itself with the flippancy
of hair curled,
though it was just a fall of auburn hair (framing her face)
and not
from grace,
a purchased dangle of pageboy mod
that made my mother
a strange woman in my eyes, that is,
a woman–
a role that with the bald
totality of youth, I thought, reserved
for me–

In the same way that many
years later,
when I met her at an airport,
I saw a loop of dry toilet paper
dangling from the back waist
of her navy pants suit
and understood, in one fell swoop,
that she’d become
an old woman,

and that I would too,
(if lucky),
which silenced my flip
remark, as, masking
the movement, I caught the tissue, curling it
into a wad–

In those frames, time’s lash
snaps us to, eyes opening
in batted blinks–
Real enough, though–

My drafty offering for my own prompt on With Real Toads to write something stemming from the idea of fall.  The fall at issue is a hair piece of a type that was once quite popular, longer hair to be worn almost like a hat, with a hairband covering the place where the hair attached. (Unlike a wig, a fall was worn for a change of style primarily, not to hide any bald spot.) 

The pic (mine) doesn’t really go with the piece, but I just liked it.


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17 Comments on “Falls”

  1. To realize how your own aging in your mother’s was so perfect. That’s a crucial moment of life…

  2. hedgewitch Says:

    A sadness as we greet our own mortality is only fitting–it’s a long hard fall from the strident but rather niave self-contemplation of youth –‘bald’ is the perfect word here–and it leaves bruises. Your imagery is almost cinematic–like watching a film, a progression of reflections, of realizations, as your narrator comes to terms with those changes which shift our view of ourselves and our world. Thanks for this prompt, k–and especially the two poems at the end, neither of which I’d read.

  3. what a love you are and you have for your mother. great eyelash imagery, from the flirting to the lash of time! Love covers over a multitude of sins, and in this case a flippant mouth.

  4. ocean bones Says:

    Those eyelashes sure caught me. Gripping poem throughout.

    It just occurred to me that “falls” breaks into “F-alls,” an attitude I tend to enjoy.

    This is my fave:
    “a purchased dangle of pageboy mod
    that made my mother”

  5. lynn__ Says:

    Oh, K, you made me laugh out loud at your descriptions and then your insight sobered me up!

  6. I at first thought the eyelash WAS nature – which I thought quite clever. I really enjoyed this wonderful portrait, and the progression of time and feelings… really quite good writing!

  7. Snakypoet (Rosemary Nissen-Wade) Says:

    Great pictures of your mother at different times, and giving rise to crucial thoughts.

  8. Nothing like age to change our perspective…A great look at the wisdom that comes with age (If we allow it.)

  9. Brendan Says:

    Pride cometh before the fall, esp. the pride of woman in her youth. Vanity in the garden, with beauty its own adder age. Great meditation, Karin, and a great challenge, too.

  10. Kerry O'Connor Says:

    Karin, you have an enviable way of hooking the reader from the opening words and keeping one’s full attention as the whole tale unfolds. What a very human description, of both mother and daughter, through the years. It was one of the most difficult things for me to accept my grandmother had grown old, and I fought the knowledge and (unfortunately) her in a middle-aged childish attempt to reverse time. I wish I had simply snatched away the evidence to spare us both embarrassment.

  11. othermary Says:

    To me this one is so poignant. The idea of our moms’ having other factes to them besides ‘our mom’. For me especially it was (they are gone now) so difficult to watch my parents age. Your way of presenting this is…adjective fail (but insert your favorite one).

  12. M Says:

    your prose skills shine through so often, and especially here: catching multiple moments, layering them skillfully, and letting the reader glimpse that vulnerable moment. fine work, k ~

  13. Shoot…I shouldn’t have read M’s comment…he said it well, K and I agree I also love the way you tied in the in the image with the hair as that last tuft of leaves. The color contrast of that gray and brilliant orange is spectacular!

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