THE MOON ONLY SHINES IN JULY AND OTHER BEDTIME STORIES

My mother cut her hair one night,
alone,
seated next to the table
where she left the black and grey fingerfuls
like uncurled vowels.

The following day,
she reached for her hair,
asking after it,
as one asks after aging relatives
in a foreign country,

the blades of her voice
opening and closing quietly
over us at breakfast
while we dropped the bread
and left jam stuck to the spoon.

She parted the thickening
clatter of teacups
asking no questions.
The bass hum of our glances
droned through the air.

Collecting her words
in a bucket of silence,
she touched my head and remembered
how she would untangle each lock
under running water.

Her neck inclined under a halo
of fear; she would not brush
her teeth that day or face
the woman who wiped away tears
and promised freedom to mirrors.


Danielle McShine
TAR
DANIELLE McSHINE is studying Music and French Linguistics at Indiana University. Her poems have previously appeared in Poems Niederngasse, Melic Review, Thunder Sandwich, and New Works Review.