Grandfather cuts my hair.
I sit on a special stool with a curved, low back.
He fastens a towel around my neck with a silver-toothed clip.
He combs my bangs down smooth, straight.
I can see the Teutonic pores in the dark skin of his face.
He smells like the fir trees in the backyard,
leaning next to the pigeon house.
Scissors cut in a straight line, wielded certain and true,
metal cool and mint against the hard ridge of my brow.
In the living room hangs a mirror big as a window.
Grandfather rewraps the knotted veins in his legs.
Grandmother brings him a saucer of coffee
from a kitchen blue and white and delft.
I am the first of three granddaughters.
We wonder at the glass bauble on the stovetop kettle.
We sleep in the coldest room of our grandparents’ house.
I am glad to be highest in the top bunk.
Grandmother fusses, worried about the gaps.
She calls me Honey, pats me with her knuckles like underground tubers.
I smile with my black tooth, shaking pixie hair.
Grandmother finds me a windmill cookie, her answer for most things.
My sisters pinch me through the half-railing, painted a high gloss like taffy.
I itch and twitch, tossing and turning in the night.
In the thickness, my sprite body slips through the rails.
I land on the carpet fast asleep.
I stir but never wake up.
Grandfather hears the thump and bears me with his wolf arms to a lower bunk.
I curl up with a sister already warm.
The clippings sift down all day next to his barber’s chair.
Scissors cut in a straight line, wielded certain and true.
Grandfather tells the story of his Enkelin, his granddaughter,
who falls from the sky but doesn’t wake up
so deeply did she dream.