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Poetry of Issue #8        Page 80

Flo at Ninety

She cut her hair last month to celebrate.
Free at last of the slavery of the hot comb.
Her grandfather was Cherokee and her sister has his hair,
good hair Earlinda says (she always was a spiteful brat)
but Flo knows hers is better, more character
specially now it springs like wild grass and she leaves it untamed
heart and hair.
You wouldn’t think it but wild still grows within her. Wild and joyful.
What does she fret about at this stage?
All that dark brooding is burnt off
(She can smell the singeing and it smells like hickory.
Or is that victory?)
So that what is left are little nubs of hard concern:
Her son who is losing weight too fast
Her grandson who will not marry
Her great-granddaughter with too many choices.
Even worry gets ashy with time and
Flo flicks it off as if it was just the tip of one of those
Sweet Caporals she smoked at Harlem’s Savoy Ballroom in ’38.
That was when she was young and in love
As if now she is not and out of it.

  Toby Devens