A little hand mirror

Who says beauty is only skin deep?

Beauty seeps to the soul.

Feeling beautiful

raises your spirits.

When my sister came

to see our mother,

she said,

“Mom would not like her hair like this!”

It had turned gray, flat, and matted to the pillow.

As my mom lies on our dad’s recliner, resting,

my sister takes “frivolous fawn” rinse

and massages it through my mother’s hair,

just as she used

to do each week,

performing her only indulgence,

going to the beauty parlor.

She gave me scissors and said, “It’s too long, let’s cut it.”

I didn’t know how,  

but I held her hair in my fingers–pretending–

snipping off the ends.

We both took the tiny curling iron and took turns

rolling her hair into the fashion, she loved to present to my dad.

He always said, “You look beautiful, darling.”

She used to say, “Daddy loves forward bangs.”

So we gave her forward bangs,

She loves to have curly side burns, toward her face, so we did that too.

We tucked and picked and gently fluffed her flattened, lifeless hair, into a little style.

The back was still flat on the pillow.

She slept through the whole thing, but leaned in each time we gently tugged.

There, we were done.

The only thing we did not do was spray a gallon of

Aqua Net hairspray on it, for fear it would irritate her breathing.

She looked beautiful.


Then we sat and waited.

Hours later, she opened her eyes.

We rushed for a little hand mirror

so she could see.

She tentively looked at herself in the mirror.

She reached her weak fingers to touch her side hair.

They trembled, but arranged the little hairs, her way.

She studied her bangs.

In her raspy voice she asked us to

lift the top a little higher

so it was more poofy.

Then she asked for her  lipstick.

She felt beautiful.

She looked and looked.

then weakly smiled.

It took only a moment for us.

A little gift.

Beauty ran all the way through

her body.

And for a moment,

She felt good.


she fell back to sleep.

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