by Meg Pokrass and Rosie Garland
Once, you were Rita, dressing like a movie star while acting like a meter maid. This meter is running, your favourite thing to say. You are feeling like Prudence again, not ready to come out to play. I’ve learned the score, have given up trying to make you feel better.
Cut it all off, you say, when I flash the shears, ask.
In the mirror, you watch me snip. From waist-length to shoulder to above the ears. Red waves gather around your ankles. You pick up the wisps with your shy little fingers.
You’ll come back out when you’re ready, I say.
The sun is up, the sky is blue, you sing, trying to smile.
You sniff at the dead hair in your hands. Stare at me as if I’m the only one who can remind you how to have fun. I trim so close, the dark roots show. The real woman: under the glamour, the decades of bleaching and plucking.
When they cut Samson’s hair he lost his strength, you say. Maybe this was a mistake.
It sounds like you’re asking a question. I brush strands from the nape of your neck. And when it grew back, he flexed those big old muscles and tore down the temple, I say.
It’s only a story, you reply.
I angle the mirror so you can see the back of your head; say, What else is there?
Meg Pokrass is the author of 8 collections of flash and microfiction and two-time recipient of San Francisco’s Blue Light Book Award. She is Founding Co-Editor of Best Microfiction. http://megpokrass.com/ Twitter – @megpokrass
Rosie Garland, named by Val McDermid one of the UK’s most compelling LGBT writers, is author of The Night Brother, described by The Times as “A delight… with shades of Angela Carter.” http://www.rosiegarland.com/ Twitter – @rosieauthor