TWO BRAIDS: A SESTINA
by Lorraine Walker Williams, Denver, CO
Grand Prize Winner of the Dancing Poetry Festival, 2018
Her child's hair wet from the shower,
the mother's fingers caress her head,
comb out tangles, separate
long strands, twist one on another.
The child holds her head still
as braiding rhythm repeats.
Her grandmother watches a pattern repeat,
brushing her daughter's hair after a shower,
wrapping her close, wanting time to stand still.
Soap clan, she kisses her head.
The child grows, years fold one to another,
mother and child like two braids, separate
like sun and falling rain separate.
Days and seasons repeat,
steaming one to another.
Clouds, heavy with rain before a shower,
undone like braids on the head.
Hair falls free, air becomes still.
Grandmother's hands still
remember silk strands separate
like moonlight on water at the head
of the bay. Wave after wave repeats
tide's ebb and flow, showers
starlight from night. Other
voices summon the days, other
dreams fade from light, still
the grandmother showers
love on the child, cannot separate
the braid she weaves and repeats
through time and space in her head
to breath's rise and fall of the child's head.
Distance carries one away from the other.
The braid spins out, rhythm repeats
flutters on wings of an angel. Still,
their hearts never unravel or separate,
love steady as rain in a shower
forms a rainbow, shines on the child's head still.
A mother separates one fine strand from another,
fresh from the shower, braid upon braid repeats.