By Joan C. Tabor
She called my name and I walked over to the chair and sat down
She prepared me, and the solution and water washed away the grime from my head.
Slowly she walked me to another chair where I saw her instrument table set out
precisely like surgical tools
rolled cotton, lotion, tail comb, rods and a plastic cap.
She sliced through my hair with the deft hands of a surgeon,
Rolling each section with a piece of perm paper ,
being careful not to fish hook the hair.
Rolling, rolling, rolling, pink and grey rollers, irrigating each for perfection
Wrapping my head with rolled cotton, she mixed two solutions
with the precision of a chemist
and applied it to my hair
the smell of rotten eggs permeated the air
diminished by the plastic cap.
The hands on the clock moved slowly I listened to the customer’s conversations
about children and botox
with “Uptown Girl” playing in the background.
Rinse and blot, rinse and blot. How much longer?
Each roller came out slowly and reverently
neutralize and rinse, rinse, rinse.
A head of perfect curls
springy and bouncy.