The Thrice-Divorced Woman In the Locker Room Braids Her Hair

By Shoshauna Shy

                                    after Mischelle Anthony


She’s been that surge to merge, the whisk of the

waltz, buttery confections, sizzle and steam; the

comfort of flannel, coffee percolation; the climb

to vertigo, the jump to surrender–Lather, rinse

repeat. But is this failure? What else lasts

a lifetime? At least each bond lasted long

enough to matter, just like the seasons

that silken to sweaty, sift over to

snow. A bare foot on the bench

braces for balance as she

separates three bundles:

lift, twine and tug to

the last paintbrush

inch, satin-flat as

her palms press,

no strands astray.

She knows how

to start things.

How to finish

them, too.