Posts Tagged ‘lice’

The Sublime

In the middle of the night
in a tiny well-lit kitchen
in the middle of a city
known for violence,
my father spent hours
combing my hair
looking for nits,
meticulously pulling through
the toxic shampoo.
The hours passed
with tenderness.
I was grateful then,
but could not know
how sweetly I would come to recall
his patient hands, his quiet devotion,
his exhaustion, my exhaustion,
could not know how
years later I would treasure
those dark hours
when the sirens
blared through the window glass
and hour after hour
came to pass.

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Sure, you might be all crystal goblets, all ruby sunsets

and soft violins. You might be high rise and Bugatti

and caviar. But baby, you haven’t made it


anywhere that the lice can’t find you. It’s not

about your hygiene, honey, it’s about your hair follicles.

Can’t drown ’em in your infinity pool. Can’t


smother them with your fine spa mud.

They’ve evolved to find you, to suck your blood,

to romp on your scalp, to lay their nearly invisible eggs


and glue them to strands of your hair.

You’d like to pretend they aren’t there. But

they are. It’s the age-old story of lice and men.


Says right here in Scientific American

that “Sucking lice have been sucking primate blood

for at least 25 million years.” Doesn’t seem too likely


they’ll stop their thirsting habits for you.

No pair of lice lost on account of your bling.

They won’t be dissuaded by your Gucci belt nor deterred


by your Chanel. They’re the great human equalizers,

these lousy little beasts. They care nothing for race.

For gender. For creed. They see us all the same—


as fine warm hosts. Perhaps they’ve something

to teach us right now, now when we need

the lesson most. Darling, are you itching yet?




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