Missed Opportunity
by Ricki Mandeville

I always thought the time would come
when, finally, I’d run my fingers
through that hair of yours—thick, shiny,
begging attention. Unruly hair.
Tom Sawyer hair, James Dean hair,
George Harrison/Harrison Ford hair.
Presidential, senatorial
(or at the very least gubernatorial) hair.

There would come a scenario
(perhaps after you’d said something adorable)
when I’d touch your temple, fondly,
say, “Oh you…” then sneak my fingers
into it, slide my knuckles through,
tug a scant fistful at your nape—
a mullet then—while you succumbed at last
to a long-suppressed urge to kiss me
long and hard, until my tingling fingers
had no choice but to grab hair for dear life.

Instead, I watched the gray creep in,
an old mare grazing just above your ears.
Later, I watched most of it wander,
as errant horses will, away from the top
of your head to God knows where.
But I always thought a moment would arrive
when I’d tousle it, smooth it, stroke it.

Sadly now, I realize it’s never
going to happen: the moment is gone.
And so is your hair.

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