The Solution

Alejandro Escudé

The lice my wife found on my daughter’s head
changed our plans for the day. We were going to go
to breakfast after dropping my daughter off
at preschool. Now, people squirm around me as I read
the latest poetry at the bookstore. Outside, the blue sky
hums a warning. Telescopes are sold in the store
next to this one, along with hunting rifles.
In line, faces like the blank pages of the plastic-
wrapped journal I pick up; I like the look of it, the feel of it.
I also like the feel of the poetry book I’m skimming.
A black cover, the title in a funny font. I inhale the dry
air-conditioned loneliness of bookstores, the echoing
simplemindedness of those buying a velvet headrest
or a tiny lamp that clips onto the spine of a book.
What a strange creature, lice. The expert says lice need
the warmth of the scalp. Next day I run the thin, wiry comb
through my daughter’s hair and dip it into the solution.
Two dots on the paper towel, one a dot and the other a dot
with a tail. We should be happy to find the tail.

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