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This poem is taken from PN Review 229, Volume 42 Number 5, May - June 2016.

Hair Elaine Feinstein
How can I reassure my dismayed self in the mirror
as a hank of hair comes away in the comb?
The stuff is soft and pale, as if from a days-old baby,
and the shorn face looking back from the glass
reminds me of those bewildered French women
with scalps exposed and features suddenly huge

whose heads were shaved for sleeping with German soldiers.
My hair loss is only the common response
to chemicals which enter the blood searching out
cancer cells which have escaped surgery.
Nothing hurts. I don’t feel ill. I simply sit
here, in my white pod, listening for beeps.

With what insensate vanity did I once give my age
with such precision as the years went by
as if to invite astonishment? Dunbar had Pride
lead in his ‘Dance of the Seven Deadly Sins’
...


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