Tuesday 23 April 2013


'Escaped Housewife Prefers the Term Cosmetologist

Quasi-scientific? Maybe.
But think of beautician,
a word that assumes loveliness
is brought off by technology.

She prefers cosmetologist—
how it seems to have something
to do with the stars. She believes
she can see the future
when she stares face-down
at the globe of a stranger's scalp
and adjusts the tilt of his head.

At the Academy, she is learning
about the tendencies of things
to remain where they fall.
She knows some tricks—
spritz and gel, the so-called
permanent wave. She wonders
where they come from,
this galaxy of dowdy customers.

Some days her precision cuts
hang like torn drapes
on a dirty window.
I see you've tried
an asymmetrical look,
her instructor might say,
snipping corrections.
At the Academy, asymmetrical
is spelled with a D.

She came here to verify
what she always suspected:
that straight hair must be curled,
curly hair straightened,
long hair cut, short hair extended.
That what comes to us by fate
is wrong.'

Karen Craigo
(Poetry Magazine, March 2002)