Anna Papadopoulos

My Friends Are All Dying

mom says,
and their kids
don’t call to tell me.

They must think I’m dead also.

Mary always loved you, she says —
Mary, who died in the hollow of the night.
I never thought of her loving me
or not loving me.
If I’m honest,
haven’t thought much
of her at all.

But now, I remember them
in our old salon –
my ten-year old sweaty thighs
cling to the plastic hair-dryer seat.
Mom struggles
to free Mary’s hair
like it’s a string of tangled pearls,
while Mary clutches her words –
as if to utter fear
will set it loose.

Strands of her hair
cover my mom’s hands
like lace gloves.
Rose-scented conditioner
fills the space
between us.

Anna Papadopoulos has been a cashier, columnist, wedding photographer, chandler, marketing professor and corporate executive. She adores New York City’s gritty beaches and littered streets and even though she knows the odds of winning the lotto are impossible, she believes that it will happen. She and her husband share their home in Staten Island, NY with their twin sons, daughter, a poodle, a Siberian cat and her mother’s neglected Lenox collection.