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The Library of Congress > Poetry & Literature > Poet Laureate Projects > Poetry for the Mind's Joy > Winning Poem: Shampoo
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This poem was submitted for the "Poetry for the Mind's Joy" project and is reproduced here with permission from the author. All rights reserved. Poetry for the Mind's Joy is Poet Laureate Kay Ryan's project that includes a community college poetry contest administered by the Community College Humanities Association and a lively videoconference.

Ocean breeze
blowing, bubbling,
bonding to each
tendril of hair,
smelling familiar,
not of salt or sand
or seafood,
but of the mother
who drew up baths,
floating little boats
towards my chubby
kid body, laughing
as if nothing would
change.

I now shampoo
myself, trying to forget
Her number
in the kitchen,
on top of the fridge,
in the basket,
under my coupon book.

As the suds whisper,
the smell of ocean breeze
permeates each hair
and hangs on like a child
to her mother.

Inver Hills Community College, Inver Grove Heights, MN
Faculty Contact: Richel Burkey-Harris, English Instructor