‘Couples can wed at the Miami Zoo …’
She is laughing to her confessor,
a tightswathed, foiling hairdresser
(whose biceps playing peekaboo,
as he parts and lifts and snips,
suggest the weight of the flattening iron
or the tensility in the ringlets of that siren
chatting about her ‘upcoming trips’).
Zoe, meanwhile, creases my headdress,
also of foil, in which I look,
arrayed in silver, like a sci-fi Aztec
or Zoroastrian priestess.
Pop songs from the speakers gloss
the single, collapsible reason why
we cut, crimp, curl, and dye:
lust, love, longing, and their loss.
‘Do you know’ – Zoe, suddenly begloved –
‘that mad hatters were really a thing?
The poison they were absorbing
in their skin from doing what they loved
demented them.’ She puts the timer on.
A second woman in black walks up,
and gives one of my hands a salt scrub.
It looks like she’ll tell my fortune,
or no, like she’s erasing the very lines
that map my destiny. ‘All done … ’
lifting her gaze … it’s my complexion
she has read for unpropitious signs.
Dismantling the ziggurat, Zoe will remark,
‘Airbags use a powder that leaves burns
when deployed. Funny what one learns,
sometimes, in this line of work.’