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Blow-Drying My Grown Sonís Long Hair
Barbara Quick


Everything about this brief visit
says goodbye: the hot home-cooked meal,
a last long shower before you hit the road.
My offer to blow-dry your long hairó
the bone-deep motherly urge
to keep you from darting out wet
into the night.

Pulling the warm air through the brown tangle
that reaches your shoulders,
I watched you close your eyes and enjoy
my solicitude and the sleepy feeling
induced by someone else combing oneís hair.

I didnít mention the little flaxen sheaf
saved from your first haircut,
tied with a golden thread and tucked away
in a secret drawer.
Or remembering how it felt to feed you
when my body made your food, both before
and after you were bornóhow good it was to know
that I could provide everything you needed then.

Though youíre well launched now in your own life,
it feels like part of my body is about to be carried away
as, towering above me, you wrap me in your arms
and I smile, trying not to cry
as you say goodbye.

© by Barbara Quick.
Used with the authorís permission.


Barbara Quick is a novelist, journalist and poet. The author of seven books, her newly assembled poetry collection, Fanny Mendelssohn Catches a Glimpse of the Future, was a semi-finalist for last year's Washington Prize and her novel, Vivaldi's Virgins (HarperCollins, 2007), has been translated into 15 languages. Barbara lives on a small farm in Sonoma County, California with her husband, a vigneron and violist for the San Francisco Symphony. An avid dancer, runner and student of yoga, Barbara divides her time between writing and tending to her edible gardens. Learn more about her at



Post New Comment:
I wanted to cry after reading this touching poem. Just fantastic.
Posted 05/09/2017 10:44 AM
Sarah Russell:
Lovely universal feelings. Always a mom, no matter how old they get.
Posted 05/09/2017 10:05 AM
You were right about that tissue. What a beautiful, moving poem! Janice
Posted 05/09/2017 09:07 AM
Tenderness & nostalgia celebrated fully within this shining poem! Thanks, Barbara.
Posted 05/09/2017 08:37 AM
Touching and beautiful!
Posted 05/09/2017 08:31 AM
Beautifully bittersweet.
Posted 05/09/2017 08:29 AM

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