In a green metal bed on the edge of eternity,
her long white braid rests in her lap.
Its end returns to days
she had a kitchen,
a fullness of life,
Now she’s left with nothing but shadows
of her still. dead. life.
A nurse’s aide admonishes her
and balks at her twisted fingers
while bitching about braiding her hair.
She shivers, forever coatless
in this white-halled end of life facility.
Her woolly visions of how it might have been
drowned with her family
in the blanketed waters of Lake Louise.
Fingering her braid
she rubs its end between gnarled fingers
lost in the reverie of that last morning.
Her daughter braided her hair
while her husband watched deft fingers
weave a line down her back
connecting eyes in the vanity
of a suite in the chateau,
husband / wife / mother / father
Unaware that Louise was eating her family,
she bought her daughter a teak box
at the chateau’s gift store.
When they didn’t come back
she cut her braid and coiled it
into the dark of the box.
Her knotted hands with scissors
gnaw the top of her braid
until it breaks free.
She coils it like a cobra
deep in teak, then winds
the preferred braid
Proof of a life
where love shimmered
in strands of braid
trapped inside a teak box
on a bedside table
next to her green metal bed
teetering on eternity’s edge.
Brenda Warren 2012
Visit The Sunday Whirl.