My granddaughters stand obediently still,
at perfect shoulder height to me, while
I blow-dry their hair.  Mary first, Ella next.
Neither one of them fidgets or complains
as I draw the brush through their freshly washed,
flower-scented tangles.  Such patient endurance
surprises me.  Mary explains it, Well,
(two syllables) if we whine or wiggle too much,
mom just yanks harder.  Ella chimes in, Yeah
and then Mary has a meltdown!  I burst out
laughing.  Delighted, the girls join in.  So,

I take my time brushing, gently coaxing away
the knots, smoothing the unruly strands.
The noisy hairdryer keeps conversation
to a minimum, though it doesn’t really matter.
The give and take of grooming has its own
tender dialogue.  End result: straight, glossy
tresses and 9-year-old approval.  Hair bows
are selected by consensus, heavily relying
on Mary’s fashion sense.  Hairdos  complete,
exuberance freed, the girls bounce 
out of the room shouting Thank you!  in stereo.
The cyclone of girlish energy now spins

onward to the next area of interest.  I collect
the clutter left behind, gather in the still airborne
memory, to be carefully stored away.