After the painting by Edgar Degas

It is summer.
A meditation

of bowed heads.
A faceless woman

in white
stands barefoot

before the sea.
Her hair falls dark

into combing hands.
At her feet,

two women sit
on the sand.

One
gathers her hair

over her head.
The other

works a comb
through strands

that spill
onto her lap

like a shadow.
Her cotton dress

slips below
bare shoulders.

Her face
tender and mild

in the untangling.