My grandfather carried a pocket mirror
so that he could comb his hair when the clouds rained,
or the wind blew. Between houses he would check,
just to be sure he looked his best.
Pencils, encyclopedias, brooms, radios, soap.
Didn't matter what he sold, he kept his hair set right.
Even when I knew him he kept that mirror
right there in his breast pocket.
Between grandchildren, between meals,
he would slick a hand over his bald skin,
smooth his eyebrows, check his teeth.
One time his dark hands held it up for me to see myself.
"You look just like the princess you're named for."
And I made him tell me again
how his grandmother's mother's grandmother
found the watering hole that saved her village.
Is it true, what they say about beauty?
I hope so; I hope my whole life can be
as many generations deep as my skin.