EARLY IN THE MORNING



While the long grain is softening
in the water, gurgling
over a low stove flame, before
the salted Winter Vegetable is sliced
for breakfast, before the birds,
my mother glides an ivory comb
through her hair, heavy
and black as calligrapher's ink.

She sits at the foot of the bed.
My father watches, listens for
the music of comb
against hair.

My mother combs,
pulls her hair back
tight, rolls it
around two fingers, pins it
in a bun to the back of her head.
For half a hundred years she has done this.
My father likes to see it like this.
He says it is kempt.

But I know
it is because of the way
my mother's hair falls
when he pulls the pins out.
Easily, like the curtains
when they untie them in the evening.


Li-Young Lee
from Rose, BOA Editions, Ltd., 1986
whose most recent book of poetry is "Book of My Nights,"
BOA Editions, Ltd., 2001
When the one man
loves the one woman
and the one woman loves the one man, the very angels desert heaven
and come and sit in that house
and sing for joy.
~ Brahma Sutra
Love/Life Poems
The First Fruit Salad
Almanac of Last Things
Lighting Your Birthday Cake
What We Need/First Calf
Emily Rose
Life
After an Absence
Crossroads
On the Way to Work
Misery Loves Company
Having Come This Far
First He Looked Confused
The Country of Marriage
Love Poem
In the Department Store
Poem for the Family
The Perfect Day
What She Was Wearing
These Love Poems
Forgetfulness
The Wildest Word
The Oldest Cowboy
The sun has burst the sky
Riveted
LAUNDRY DAY
LINKS
SHOE BOX
SITE MAP
SCRAPBOOK
POETRY
WELCOME!
VIEWS
DIURNAL
QUOTES
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Crusoe
Field Notes
Aunt Bobby
After Love
Lute Music
Cabbage Moths
Cutting the Cake
Advice to Men Seeking Love
Ex-boyfriends in Heaven
Anne Porter's Poetry
Deep
Nature Morte Au Plat Et Pommes
Failing and Flying
Let Hours
Early in the Morning
My Son
How to Like It
Fireflies
No Solicitations Allowed
In the Middle
My Methodist Grandmother Said
Some Talking in Bed
The Hammock
It Is Marvelous
Geology
Girlfriends
In My Own Mind
Peacock Display
In Praise of Imperfect Love
Great Cathedrals
Raking
Tomorrow
You Must Accept
September Twelfth, 2001
Slow Dancing on the Highway
Desire
Still
Cinderella's Diary
They Sit Together on the Porch
Yes
After Making Love We Hear Footsteps
Second Chance
What We Want
Vocations Club
Hug
Gamin
Boarding a Bus
I Married You
The Irrational Numbers of Longing
Down on My Knees
The Guest House
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Idyll
Marginalia
Mother, In Love at Sixty
Why I Have A Crush On You
The Marriage-Bed
Love After Love
On Faith
Briefly It Enters, Briefly Speaks
Habitation
Nude Descending a Staircase
The judge was decent, but...
The Mutes
Mahogany China
Heaven, 1963
The Blue Robe
Instructions
The Shirt
Losing Track
Marriage
Wedding
Sweet Darkness
The Fight
Passionate Shepherd to His Love
November Again Again
Softly
Love at First Sight
Sex Ed
Love Does That
The Portent
You Touch Me
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