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A Girl Combs Her Hair

by Kimiko Hahn

                             after Li Ho

Recently cut she is unaccustomed
to the blunt end

just above her moist shoulders.
Even in the morning

the air feel close—closer
than his shirt

slipped over her head.
The comb glides through the luster,

and stops short.
She thinks of fingers. Hands

gripping the small of her back. She leans
against the wall. He could have

brought flowers. The girl wants
to sit for a while on the fire escape:

to listen to the water
draining the open fire hydrant

and cooling the street and children—
to figure out the look he gave

when she turned and small hairs
scattered across the pillow. But already

it’s so oppressive. She would collect
all her combs and snap them in half

but a scent keeps her
from moving from the sheets.

By her scandals she notices an orchid
in white tissue. She reaches.


Kimiko Hahn recieved the Academy of American Poets award at Columbia University, where she is finishing her master in Japanese literature. She also organzed and moderated a panel on Asian-American Writers for the American Writers Congress last October. (1982)

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