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Louise Erdrich

“In praise of mu husband's hair
A woman is alone in labor, for it is an unfortunate fact that there is nobody who can have the baby for you. However, this account would be inadequate if I did not speak to the scent of my husband's hair. Besides the cut flowers he sacrifices his lunches to afford, the purchase of bags of licorice, the plumping of pillows, steaming of fish, searching out of chic maternity dresses, taking over of work, listening to complaints and simply worrying, there was my husband's hair.
His hair has always amazed stylists in beauty salons. At his every first appointment they gather their colleagues around Michael's head. He owns glossy and springy hair, of an animal vitality and resilience that seems to me so like his personality. The Black Irish on Michael's mother's side of the family have changeable hair--his great-grandmother's hair went from black to gold in old age. Michael's went from golden-brown of childhood to a deepening chestnut that gleams Modoc black from his father under certain lights. When pushing each baby I throw my arm over Michael and lean my full weight. When the desperate part is over, the effort, I turn my face into the hair above his ear. It is as though I am entering a small and temporary refuge. How much I want to be little and unnecessary, to stay there, to leave my struggling body at the entrance.
Leaves on a tree all winter that now, in your hand, crushed, give off a dry, true odor. The brass underside of a door knocker in your fingers and its faint metallic polish. Fresh potter's clay hardening on the wrist of a child. The slow blackening of Lent, timeless and lighted with hunger. All of these things enter into my mind when drawing into my entire face the scent of my husband's hair. When I am most alone and drowning and I think I cannot go on, it is breathing into his hair that draws me to the surface and restores my small courage. ”


Louise Erdrich, The Blue Jay's Dance: A Birth Year
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The Blue Jay's Dance: A Birth Year The Blue Jay's Dance: A Birth Year by Louise Erdrich
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