Early in the morning

FRIDAY, MAY 11, 2012

Li- Young Lee

Early In The Morning

While the long grain is softening 
in the water, gurgling 
over a low stove flame, before 
the salted Winter Vegetable is sliced 
for breakfast, before the birds, 
my mother glides an ivory comb 
through her hair, heavy 
and black as calligrapher’s ink. 

She sits at the foot of the bed. 
My father watches, listens for 
the music of comb 
against hair. 

My mother combs, 
pulls her hair back 
tight, rolls it 
around two fingers, pins it 
in a bun to the back of her head. 
For half a hundred years she has done this. 
My father likes to see it like this. 
He says it is kempt. 

But I know 
it is because of the way 
my mother’s hair falls 
when he pulls the pins out. 
Easily, like the curtains 
when they untie them in the evening. 

Li-Young Lee :   via Don Stabler

Early in the morning

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