Mama Used to Cut My Hair

Mama Used to Cut My Hair

Alyssa Hascall

Mama used to cut my hair
In front of the dirty bathroom mirror. She said,
Doll, you the prettiest thing in the world,
Humming as my hair hit the floor.
I tell you girl. You’ll be in the movies one day.
Mama used to cut my hair
On the first of January,
The first of April,
And the first of August
Until I looked just fine and pretty as could be.

When I turned sixteen, Mama didn’t cut my hair no more.
I watched her in that dirty bathroom mirror
As she tried to hide the black under her eyes
And the bruises on her arms
From the poison needles she hid
At the bottom of the trash can.
Sometimes Mama cut other things
On the first of January
When she ran the bath so I wouldn’t come looking,
But I saw the red anyway.

Mama used to cut my hair
Before the scissors took her from me.
Now I cut my own hair
Over the water of our old rusty bathtub,
My hair falling in lopsided, red chunks.
I cut my own hair on the first of January,
The first of April,
And the first of August,
Watching it all float away
The way my Mama left me.

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