Chana Bloch





Memento Mori

“God blessed you with curly hair,”
my mother used to say 
and dressed me like Shirley Temple.

On my bare scalp, Australia:		 
a birthmark that hid 			 
in the thicket of my hair. 	

Unblessed in a downburst, I lost 		 	 
my leafy summer, my lovely,					 
my crest, my crown.	

I sleep in a flannel nightcap. 
My wig sleeps in a closet, 
comb-and-brush in a drawer.  
	
I wake to a still life: 
a clock that marks the hour				 
before it strikes.	

No skull on my desk.					 
Just a face in the mirror, 
unrecognizable.


Originally published in The New Yorker