Interlocked into a rope of silk
and smelling of jasmine,
straight as fine black threads,
could weave a blanket
to cover the world,
shining like midnight.
In her daughter’s hair
she places her comb –
jade flower and ivory fingers,
a gift from the handsome soldier
ten days before he died.
He shares his eyes with her daughter.
His mouth, too:
lips that fold over themselves
into a sour bud that hangs open.
She uses both hands to fasten
the soldier’s comb at the top of the braid.
He’d said it was his grandmother’s,
that she’d found it beneath a maple tree,
half-buried in dirt.
The comb is uneven; one tooth has broken off,
chipped from years of wear
and antiquity that scratches the scalp.