Sharon Black


Urban Coiffure

Across the street, my daughter’s
hair’s being cropped, dyed postbox red –
a treat to mark her
first period.

On my table: a silver pot of tea, still brewing.
I nurse the empty Café Bibal cup,
the too-small handle,
the red stripe down the side.

Earlier we picked out bras – replacements
for her starter size – impossible to find
one not underwired, or padded,
not bolstered for cleavage.

At the mirror she sits, oblivious,
tilting her head this way and that, so the fringe
falls across her eyes
in a way she’s learned is sultry

while the stylist, all in black, his face
amok with piercings,
fusses at her nape, blades flashing,
and, moving across, perfectly conceals her.

I take a last sip, order another.
The waitress brings an identical silver pot,
the same cup with a red stripe down the side,
the same too-small handle.


(longlisted, National Poetry Competition 2014)

Copyright © Sharon Black 2017