By Kim Dower
She’s awakened by a hair in her mouth.
It’s not enough to kill her, no
that would take a locomotive crashing
through her window, a train way off track
thundering through her bedroom,
the moon on its back,
simply a hair
stuck to the roof of her mouth,
her tongue working to pry it loose.
Whose hair is it, anyway?
Is it the same hair she saw
floating in the bowl of vanilla gelato
she ate before bed?
Could it be this hair belonged
to that mechanic she once knew—
they made out on the carousel swan,
kissed til their lips bled—surely
a hair or two had been dislodged,
might have settled inside the cave
of her throat, only to resurface as a wish?
Is it possible the hair was placed
in her mouth by a higher power,
a mysterious donor, to remind her
that dreams are fleeting, even in sleep? No.
No. She realizes this is the same strand
she twisted ‘round her tongue
one night when she was young,
sitting straight up in bed,
shadows from her closet
moving in beside her, as she slowly
closed the knot making a promise to herself
she still struggles to forget.
Kim Dower taught poetry for two years at Emerson College, her alma mater, before moving to Los Angeles and founding Kim-from-LA, a literary publicity company that specializes in coaching authors and speakers on how to present themselves to the media. After a 25-year hiatus from poetry, Dower published her first collection of poems titled “Air Kissing on Mars” (Red Hen Press) last month.