She scrapes acrylic from the band of ostrich skin
as if she were de-icing a cake.
The hatter is not happy; too much yellow in the dye.
It is a difficult process.
The quills get in the way.
They are thorns grabbing at the glaze
holding on like a surprised spouse in a separation.
He had wanted explanations, needed reasons.
But apparently he had never been listening.
He had always ignored the warnings,
let them flake off like old paint.
She tries again and again to separate
the stubborn color from the band.
It does not come easily.
It clings tighter with each scratch of her thumb.
Like the way he clings to her with his questioning.
Was it me? What did I do? Can't we try again?
Even now, as she tears and tugs
at quills that won't let go
she senses the urgency for completion.
She scatters thin chips like rice,
ceremoniously unveiling each knot of paint
which cleaves and bonds in unwanted union.
It speaks nuptials to her
asks to stay joined; band to pigment eternally.
But she intensifies her efforts,
dividing and splitting,
annulling acrylic inch by inch
until each knot has been completely severed.