Hair on Television

On the soap opera the doctor
explains to the young woman with cancer
that each day is beautiful.

Hair lifts from their heads
like clouds, like something to eat.

It is the hair of the married couple getting in touch
with their real feelings for the first time
on the talk show,

the hair of young people on the beach
drinking Cokes and falling in love.

And the man who took the laxative and waters his garden
next day with the hose wears the hair

so dark and wavy even his grandchildren are amazed,
and the woman who never dreamed tampons
could be so convenient wears it.

For the hair is changing people’s lives.
It is growing like wheat above the faces

of game show contestants opening the doors
of new convertibles, of prominent businessmen opening
their hearts to Christ, and it is growing

straight back from the foreheads of vitamin experts,
detergent and dog food experts
helping ordinary housewives discover

how to be healthier, get clothes cleaner,
and serve dog meals they love in the hair.

And over and over on television the housewives,
and the news teams bringing all the news faster
and faster, and the new breed of cops winning the fight

against crime, are smiling, pleased to be at their best,
proud to be among the literally millions of Americans

everywhere who have tried the hair, compared the hair,
and will never go back to life before the active,
the caring, the successful, the incredible hair.

-Wesley McNair