My Mane, My Daughter’s Glory
by Joan Leotta

My straight brown hair,
Soft, though thick,
burnished with red highlights,
refused to conform to
any of the styles or treatments
of the nineteen fifties.
At last, in the sixties,
when others resorted to irons, I
could glory in a crown of hair
that naturally cascaded from
head to shoulders to waist—
coiffure du jour without effort.
Though I reveled in this, my one vanity,
style soon passed me by again.
Bouffants and close short clips
are not for me. Through the years I have remained
singularly straight of hairdo,
not so much stubborn, as simply bereft of
talent to change and unwilling to cut it often.
Our daughter was born with my hair.
She revels the way its
burnished chestnut beauty,
frames her delicate, ivory oval face.
“Glad I inherited your hair, Mom.”
Unlike me, she manages to tame it
into ringlets, into a chignon,
into a perfect pageboy—all at her command.
When it exceeds a certain length,
she donates those
surplus inches to
Locks of Love.
She may have my hair,
as all who see us together tell her,
but she is completely herself
in styling her tresses
in making our mane her glory.

PHOTO: The author and her daughter Jennie at the foot of the Spanish Steps in Rome (December 2014).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This was a tough prompt! My hair is my one vanity so I had many little stories and ideas. Finally I settled on this one — the passing on of my trait to my daughter, but how she remains an individual with it. My hair is now completely gray — underneath a clever dye job. I can now say I imitate her glorious “mane.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Joan Leotta has been playing with words since childhood. Joan recently completed a month as one of Tupelo Press’s 30/30 poets. She has published or has work forthcoming in Red WolfA Quiet CourageEastern Iowa Review, Silver Birch Press, and Postcard Poems and Prose. Joan also performs folklore and one-woman shows on historic figures. She lives in Calabash, North Carolina, where she walks the beach with husband Joe. She collects shells, pressed pennies, and memories.  Visit her at joanleotta.wordpress.com and on Facebook.