Nancy Baxter

If the head is put where the feet ought to be, and the legs where one would expect to find the head, the cleverest ghost is unable to get itself sorted out and in shape for walking.Tongan Herbal Medicine

Where the lemon tree and wearing braids
are two choices. The sorrel pony must
have come later. Burs in her tail
and not to hurt with the metal comb
like a day in Queens, nowhere to go
except to the barber's with my brothers
who get cut by the Italian with pickled
fingers and a lemon tree. Green leaf
of burdock placed over the womb,
promise not to hurt. Section long strands
apart from the burs. Lemon leaves olive-
oiled smooth, reading out loud to my
mother my own words, hair cut
from a square. With artificial lighting,
harder to tell the barber's chair
or the lemon tree more what might
mean. But the pony begins to paw:
could be cut easy as cat whiskers,
getting caught not much harder.
Part singing through the metal comb.
Pick leaves before the burs dry, a pinch
of horsetail, not that I know what comes
next. When light can be oily or smoke-
colored, end of hair root barbed,
who can be told only once to begin.

©Copyright Nancy Baxter