For Leila Means Night and Night Is Beautiful to the Desert Mind—for my daughter

Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows (Lk 12:7).
                            

But the ends of the earth
writhe in crazy fire, so I narrow
my eyes to count each strand
upon your sweet and tender head,

replenished by their number.
Midway in this thicket, a father
now, my own skull bared
by time’s flames, today I learn

for the first time the inside
of a girl’s hair, to brush the hair
beneath the hair. The generous

scalp might give them up to brush,
the brush might give them up to trash,
but I will hoard their beautiful night.

 

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