A Woman Who Was Killed by Her Hair
by Suzanne O’Connell
- Like rings of a tree measure the passage of time,
- her hair measured the pandemic.
- In several weeks, her hair
- began to rise of its own free will,
- a frenzy,
- a cacophony.
- It stood up and moved sideways like a haystack.
- It crested from the center part like two soufflés.
- Tangled, too thick to comb.
- A forelock fell into her eyes, tickling,
- which forced her to touch her face.
- This was taboo during the virus.
- She tried to do everything to keep safe:
- Wash hands constantly
- Avoid people
- Wear mask and gloves when outside
- Stay six feet away from anyone
- when walking dogs.
- She tried to keep her body healthy too.
- She exercised at home, drank water,
- ate right, got lots of sleep.
- She congratulated herself on doing such a good job.
- One day, going down the front steps to the mailbox,
- her hair obscured her vision.
- She tripped,
- she fell,
- she hit her head on the cement.
- On her death certificate, the coroner wrote: TOO MUCH HAIR.
Packingtown Review – Vol.15, Spring 2021
Suzanne O’Connell's recently published work can be found in North American Review, Paterson Literary Review, Poet Lore, Good Works Review, The Menacing Hedge, and The Summerset Review. She was awarded second place in the 2019 Poetry Super Highway poetry contest. O'Connell was also nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize and received Honorable Mention in the Steve Kowit Poetry Prize, 2019.