This task requires keen eyes, plastic gloves,
and a toothbrush. Not new, mind. The kind
no longer needed – bristles worn thin enough
to justify their coat of red.
You bend your head,
offering up a scalp for my perusal,
inviting some small sense of revelation
in this act of witness, of searching out
your age: streaks of
grey, silver, salt-and-pepper
unearthed from hiding.
It’s an affirmation, really.
You’re defined so clearly by this shade
maintained for more than thirty years.
The thought of anything other than
“my mum with the red curls”
I cover each patch methodically,
scrutinizing your roots,
rubbing in colour
like someone touching up a painting,
returning fade to full glory,
and moving on,
completing this slap-dash ritual,
returning you to the version we know best.
~ Rosalind Jana
Rosalind Jana is a freelance writer and style blogger currently studying English Literature at Oxford. She won the Vogue Talent Contest for young writers in 2011. She’s written for places including British Vogue, The Guardian, and BBC Radio 4, and is currently Junior Editor on Violet magazine.