The Pair

       for Claire Kageyama-Ramakrishnan (1969-2016)

Don’t eat the spaghetti, she whispered. It’s funny
—her hand raised to one corner
of her mouth, speaking out the other side,
conspiratorial grin I’d come to know, naively
       I wore my chopsticks to the party, the pair
with inlaid fragments of iridescent shell,
wide X holding my bun tight atop my head.
How do you get it to stay like that,
she asked. Ripped tangles, I thought. …