I tried to measure it once, snuck up behind her
with a ruler when I
should have been learning long division.
It was only between eight to ten
and something inches long,
depending on the day of the week, but that
didn’t stop me
from bragging on my moms foot-high beehive.
It was stiff as blue jeans dried on a line in late November.
couldn’t poke your finger through it, much as we tried,
the four of us.
Howie almost did (he was the scientific one)
come up with a Clairol
hairspray antidote after school
one day that almost blew up the barn, but
only singed the cat.
Dusty was mad as H-E-double toothpicks and didn’t
for a week. Turned out Mrs. Next-Door fed him table
and from that day on he turned up his whiskers at dry kibble.
Mom spanked Howie good, elbows flying,
but not a hair on her head out
Davie tried to smoosh it down each time she leaned in
nighty night kiss, but she figured that one out right quick,
sleep armored, wrapped in a toilet paper turban
spiked all over with
bobby pins. No wonder I had nightmares.
Mom’s foot-high beehive was her pride and joy.
Oh she claimed we were, but with what esprit did she,
all five foot two of her, march home every Friday
from Bea’s Beauty Salon, her back ramrod straight,
towering over all us kids and Dusty and Dad
and every other thing in her world.