Lantern Review: A Journal of Asian American Poetry

Incense Sticks
Susan Li
Incense Sticks

Issue 4 | Winter 2012

Tarfia Faizullah

At Zahra's Salon for Ladies

Tilt back your upraised face,
its twin arched widths of thick,

black brow. Close your eyes:
see, without seeing, the two long

sweeps of white thread unwound
from a spool through the unadorned

fingers of this woman you address
with respect as Auntie, though you

don't share with her any blood.
She pulls the strands taut, twists

them sharply into a braid she'll
press across each eyebrow, each

unwanted hair scythed sharply
away. Listen as she speaks to others