Photo by Lyla Bariso / North by Northwestern
Driving along a road in Independence, Missouri,
You approach a small one-story building.
At first glance, it could be a restaurant,
Or anything you have seen before,
But as you look closer,
This building is a Hair Museum.
The only one of its kind.
Storing hair of many dead souls,
Brown and blonde, intricately braided
Flowers and wreaths.
Young women in the Victorian era knit
The hair of their lost loved ones into art;
This plain American building has been packed
Full by a wealthy, fascinated white woman
Building an empire of Victorian hair –
Golden wooden frames, corner to corner
With ancient genes.
Endlessly thin material threaded and looped
Into a twisted tiny wig of blossoms
And feathers; you could stare for hours
At its sepia stems, petals and pearls.
And you realize it is not a true
Preserved plant, but you trace time back,
Seeing it came
From a human.
As you pick up a strand of your hair from your sweater,
You start to shiver in the morbidity,
Looking at the lost parts of all the dead.
But the precise, intricate details
Instead entrance you and transport you to
A world where you
Clutch your dead sister’s
Cold locks in between
Hook and hand, crocheting
These thin strings so
We will remember her
For decades to come.