Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Rite Of Coiffure

For we are a sweet aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved

and among those who are perishing;

                                        (vv. 15, 16 NET).

The Church said women should not

show their hair loose invoking lust.

Particularly, those crowned and gloried

with flame or cedar. Bonnets and veils

were most preferable until

the bishop  decided that strands

braided and coiled around

each side of the head - might be deemed modest.


Having seen how garden snails

shrink into their shells

leaving themselves as skull caps

on leaf or stone,

he thought the look reticent, saintly.


Women soon began plaiting and planting

spirals over their ears

long before Princess Leia;

and one female wanting

more freedom, possession of herself

(maybe others), fixed  her coiffure to accommodate

holy scripture. A clever twist on the text.


She bleached her hair light like raw muslin

and let it hang straight, parted

in the center. She perfumed her scalp

with sacred oil and said before the priest,

a young clerk aiding the bishop  --


my hair is  cloth that wipes wind and wound

with the scent of God. And if you like,

your lips with the taste

of  what will keep you from perishing.




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