Break Up Hair

Like Lilith rising 
from the Red Sea,
having refused to submit
to Adam,
forever expelled 
from the Garden of Eden,
replaced by Eve – that mouse! --
I carry on 
with my fabulous,
freshly-cut, flame-colored 

Lovely like Rita --
Hayworth -- not meter maid --
as Gilda, coppery curls 
shimmering, cascading;
sultry, like Ann Margret,
hips swaying across 
the dance floor, singing
Bye-bye, Birdie, bye-bye;
or Julianne Moore,
statuesque, alabaster,

 Regal like the first 
Queen Elizabeth, bright, 
tight waves drawn above
her brilliant, aristocratic 
erotic and ethereal
like Venus on the half shell,
tresses long, luxuriant 
swirls, draping around
her hips in lush serpentine

Like a femme fatale,
I might stalk you, seduce 
you with my new Betty Page 
I’m dangerous, my shining
hair stolen from the flames
of hell.
I’m electric, untamed;
I’m a copperhead
with a temper; I could take 

Out of the ash 
I rise with my red hair
And I eat men like air.*

 - Grace Richards

From “Lady Lazarus” by Sylvia Plath, 1962.

Julia NusbaumComment