It rises as she cycles, a brown scarf
stitched to blonde, a stash of rippling
ice cream, a vanilla/coffee contrail.
It was postbox red then blue
before the colour lost itself
to shampoo, heat and ultraviolet. It lifts
at both sides, bleached strands
surging up like wings, or a flight path
more than bird or plane or angel.
She’s flying down the street
like she’s flying into life, feet off the pedals,
legs stuck out beneath the charity shop
skirt, flamingo socks and T bar Docs.
She wants to grow it to her ribs,
it hasn’t been that long since she was twelve.
I want to run my fingers through it
but she’ll never let me. Sometimes
when we hug, I turn in to her neck, inhale,
like I did when she was young, drinking
milky sweetness, heavier now
and tinged with sweat.
She ties it up in quick elastic
and blonde drizzles down like icing;
she knots it into space buns
and looks like her first teddy. But today
it’s swaying free, she’s off her bike
and leaning on a railing, looking at
the anchored yachts in the marina,
a tanker in the distance, the rocks
between the pier and quay, the breakers.
(published in Poetry Ireland Review, spring 2020)
Copyright © Sharon Black 2017