Double Whorl
 
What light falls
through DNA 
from which of us 
who
went before?
 
My grandmother killed 
a rattlesnake, no rifle at hand
two small daughters beside her
the metal washtub
 
was all that she had
hanging wash 
out there, lonely
 in the prairie wind
 
young widow, uncertain
of what would happen next
if the church organ, piano lessons
the farmgarden
would keep them.
 
Now it’s her hair
unruly towhead, always
escaping
no matter what she did
my aunts said
 
swirling, comes through
golden
            downed double whorl  
       untidy curls      flying
 around my granddaughter’s head 
a familiar light
in her silver blue toddler eyes
steady
determined.

Photo by: Sarah Ruth Pell

Double Whorl
(in Room Magazine, Room 43.1, 2020)
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