Every six months since I was fifteen,
I’ve assumed a different color hair.
Born a brunette, I began with black,
a statement to expand into everything or nothingness,
each strand straight, thick and serious—the cut, blunt.
My eyes darkened to match. I didn’t crack a smile.
Next, charcoal grey, graphite that wrote itself
around the world. My eyes glowed forest green
with yellow highlights. A slight wave moved my style.
I studied day and night. Then, with dignified gray
and serene blue eyes, I grew wise beyond my years,
counseled my elders, foretold futures.
By twenty I’d passed white, mellowed into
the platinum blonde of oft-worn pearls, flounced
around corners, looking at everyone and no one
with questionable come-hither sapphire eyes.
Laughing my way into taxi-cab yellow, I stopped
only long enough to enjoy reactions to my ride,
careened into a career on Madison Avenue,
curls dancing all over my head. By twenty-two
I edged toward flat-out orange, flirting first
with the flush of pale peach, my fingers warming
to a tingle when I lifted fine hair to height.
Tawny, my eyes lounged in island hammocks
to surf lullaby. The red of rebellion, fresh blood,
fire’s center, flowed down my back, over my face,
suffocating. Spring green eyes peeped out.
Took a baby-blue break.
Short emerald green spikes launched me
into star status. The stage was never too big,
the band too loud, the crowd too close.
Ruby eyes pierced the body heat of fans.
Past true navy, purple, pale pink, to the end
of the rainbow at sixty, quiet lavender
like the last clouds of a balanced day,
companionable, to live with for the rest of my time,
looking out from objective gray eyes
still able to worship every little thing.
A North Carolina native, Maren O. Mitchell now lives with her husband in the mountains of north Georgia. Her poems have appeared in Poetry East, Hotel Amerika, Iodine Poetry Journal, The South Carolina Review, Southern Humanities Review, and The Lake (UK), as well as such anthologies as The World Is Charged and The Southern Poetry Anthologies (V & VII). Work is forthcoming in Tar River Poetry, Poem, and Chiron Review. Her nonfiction is Beat Chronic Pain, An Insider’s Guide (Line of Sight Press, 2012).