9 nov. 2011

Confessions of a Hair Splitter

Even when I close my eyes I see split hairs,
The frayed and dry bifurcating feminine strands.

At even the slightest instance of idleness
I find my hand threading through those oilless ends
Holding up the little Vs
To separate, to split
(To make make a split, like a contortionist ballerina)

The action is like pulling off a stubborn sticker,
Or separating the toilet papers.
I gingerly pinch each branch of strand
And try to pull as evenly as I can
(It's like a highway twisting round or like a skier curvijg down)

Sometimes it seems the right strand will be left
But in the end the left remains.
The little half a hair that has been severed is the weaker half,
Often pale and curling in my hand.
When I've been splitting for a while
My sweater's strewn with little shrivels of hair
(As of an old lady or the shavings of some wood.)

But the half left on the head
Is not much stronger than the one that fell:
Compared to the whole hairs, it's dental floss
Ready to break at the slightest pull.
Sometimes I enjoy breaking this surviving half.
(In cruelty against the big part of the wishbone)

There are are white spots
Rather near the end,
Which mark a split in another sense:
These are knots of some kind
That indicate the hair will break
If tugged at precisely at that place
(The pleasure of tearing down the dotted line!)

But I exhaust these hair mutations rather quickly,
Nervously
I find the almost invisible knots,
That break not so easily
The minuscule inverted Vs,
(Not like snake tongues but like splinters)
That my fingernails can barely grasp
And (like a surgeon or a seamstress threading a needle)
With comfortable frustration at my un-nimble fingers
And piercing concentration that obliterates the surroundings
I split not so easily.

Sometimes my sight is tricked
And the overlapping hairs give the illusion of being
Joined at the hip
But they're really two strong separate hairs
With healthy, rounded tips.
(The disappointment is of running up to a stranger
Mistaking him for a high school friend.)

I could not stop this fixation even if I wanted to.

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