Pastel on Gray Paper

Jennifer Rodin Tabert

after the painting Mother Combing Her Child’s Hair ca. 1901 by Mary Cassatt

A photograph ca. 2001: I Was a Mother Combing Her Child’s Hair by Cassy Maratt

Dark reflections of pastel
curve into themselves
catching faded sun
bloodless
for long years
only dust, now, and
ash
never
to cry
to hold my hand
on gray paper
a girl, her eyes night-lit, her hair
turning the light into down and gloss, gazes beyond me
breathless
her hands are
softer than snow and starlight
and air. I could
believe she is
to sing
again

Jennifer Rodin Tabert earned a bachelor’s degree in English with a French minor from Western Washington University, and her fiction and poetry have appeared in Jeopardy Magazine. She lives north of Seattle with her husband and young son.

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