On Finding One Grey Pubic Hair Four Days Before My 48th Birthday

Alison Townsend

I didn’t know
one went grey down there too.
Hadn’t imagined
that even sex
might lose its color.
And when my hairdresser tells me
hair down there eventually
also goes straight
then falls out,
I cannot visualize myself,
though I glimpsed
my grandmother once,
her wrinkled cleft nearly
bare as a baby’s
between her spindly legs.

Is it true we grow backwards?

Pull one, two grow back,
my stepmother always said.
I pull anyway.

When I hold it
up to the light,
it flashes silver
then vanishes
against the tub—
invisible, the way
a friend once told me
she feared
she was becoming—

white thread
the thickness
of exactly
one strand
of embroidery silk,
I run
through my fingers
before tossing it
from an open window
for the oriole
building her nest
in my garden.