Beautiful Life Salon
While her mother gets cut, Ruby thumbs
through pages of Asian girls’ haircuts, more Asian
girls than she’s seen in real life, looking back
at her, half-smiling. Pixies, bobs, bangs sharp as the edge
of a knife, curls the deep dark of trash bags, girls
with highlights, whose mothers have let bleach
their hair. What if all the other girls at school turned
Asian overnight? Who would ask her about chopsticks,
who would want a Sharpie-tattoo of a Chinese word?
Ruby’s turn, the stylist pumps her down,
asks in Chinese what she wants. Her mother says,
my daughter doesn’t understand, chuckling like it’s
the punchline of a joke. Ruby points to a girl in her lap
who looks like she’s never laughed before in her life.
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