I Walked to the Lake Tonight

I walked to the lake tonight,
casting the first footprints in the snow.
Out of breath from the cold,
and from my grief,
I sit on the bench and gaze at the lake,
now frozen, like my heart.
You are not here to comfort me.
The cold wind laps around my face,
and I am a tiny boat tossed about in the sea.
I welcome the cold.
It is sobering.
I know death is forever,
but you never died before.
How do I fill this massive void?
I wear your red coat and it warms me
as the bitter wind whispers your name,
and calls me back to an emptier home.
I must go now.
Trudging back home I think of God.
I do not blame Him.
Death is hardest on those still living.

I Have Never Cut My Hair

(For David Crosby)

I have never cut my hair.
The tip of the tail is made of birth hair
still wet from the womb.
Farther up is the blonde of toddlerhood,
the golden trusses of childhood,
a bird’s nest growing in the matted part.
The light brown of the teen years,
the treasures stolen from the cute boy,
embedded into safe keeping.
The brown of young aduthood,
flipped to and fro as if I didn’ care.
The dark brown of marriage.
My hair was longer than my train,
flowing over rock and pebble.
The brunette trails had to be rolled up like a tape measure
so the baby wouldn’t get tangled in them.
The pepper and salt of middle age,
the salt and pepper of the advancing years,
the salt and dry split ends of old age.
My newest hair is brittle and white.
I have never cut my hair;
now I am ready to die.
My hair will grow even after I am dead.
It will be my death hair, still living,
attached to the end of my birth hair.
At my funeral
they will see photos of me:
Dragging my hair through sand from the sandbox,
sporting a ribbon, a crown, a veil, a hat, a bathing cap, a tiara.
Sun shining through it,
painting a dry stone wet with the tip.
Birds taking refuge there.
Braids of young lovers coming together.
Lengthy hair in tie-dyed colors,
dangling over the Grand Canyon,
trailing through the Bad Lands,
rushing over Niagara Falls.
Many people across the land had to assist in its washing,
the long strands being brushed daily
and put on top of my head,
a bun as big as an elephant
weighing me down.
Then the adventure of its unraveling.
The enormous blanket of comfort surrounding me.
The mass of children twirling and jumping rope;
mustaches they crafted and laughed behind.
The clothesline to dry their clothes in the summer.
The dog’s leash.
A tug of war.
Hair flowing over the Sierra Mountains,
then dipping into the sea.
In a meadow, dancing with white daisies
atop my head as a crown.
A feather duster used on Fridays.
I felt it growing year by year,
slowly forming cell by cell,
as cells divided and produced new,
older looking, hair.
I made a hammock to sleep in,
and I rocked myself, singing peacefully.
I pulled my woven blanket again around me,
the colors blending into each other.
It was my turban when I became ill
with the advancement of life.
The last photo:
My hair lining my coffin
and the dress I wear to present myself.

Jill Angel Langlois