The Cheonyeo Gwishin Marries Me



My mother calls to ask if I still
sleep with my hair undone

and to tell me about the spider
she accidentally sprayed Windex on.

Its legs shriveling back into
its body. How it disappeared.

She likes to remind me that a ghost
in her white sobok will lay at my side,

stroke my wet tangles, and braid
the tresses into a heavy black rope.

I want to tell her there’s no such
thing as ghosts but she isn’t speaking

of ghosts. In bed, I touch the little cuts
on the backs of my arms from the shower

and feel a tickle of hair. My lips still
as someone’s long hair blankets my shoulders.

She coils my hair into a high bun.
The swish of the goreum from her dress

lulls me to sleep as she ties the ribbon
to keep stray hairs from my eyes.