On hair day I would sit in between mama’s legs
and feel her fingers undo last week’s plaits.
Her hands moved fast,
like spiders when they crawl up walls,
her hands inverted-like, experienced with age.
Like a ritual, she’d clear her schedule for the day.
Just me and her. Sit still and don’t move she’d say.
Turn to the right, turn to the left, she’d direct.
I’d roll my eyes and suck my teeth.
It was hard staring at one place for too long!–
My neck would grow fatigued.
I never really touched my own hair,
not that type of touching that creates a bond.
I left it to mom. And one day she decided
straight was right.
My kinks, coils, and curls were unfamiliar to me.
Too little to understand. Too small to rebel.
Now I laugh at the tools
mom used back then.
Tools too small and wrong to nourish
the motherland on my head.
On hair day, my hair day,
I close my eyes like I did then.
This time in pure comfort.
I sit still
remembering the ritual of