My new poems podcast, Words by Winter, can be found here.
Here in the Time of Covid, my younger daughter and I have figured out how to maintain her complicated haircut. She does the back and sides with her electric clippers, and then I take over with my scissors, layering the sweep of black hair we refer to as “the plume” and lock by lock trimming and blending the rest.
When her sister of the wild sproingy curls was little, she demanded a different hairdo every day of her non-hairdo-doing mother. Braids, tiny pigtails all over her head, butterfly clips arranged here and there.
My mother, while visiting a year ago, asked me to streak a little pink into her hair. Not too much! Just a tiny bit! Very, very, very subtle! This was a fraught and delicate operation, performed at my kitchen sink.
Long ago, when my best friend and I lived blocks apart in Boston, she used to come by my one-room apartment before her waitress shift at Rebecca’s so I could French-braid her hair. Later that same night she would return, empty the pockets of her green apron, and we would drink wine and count up her tips together. A few years later, on the morning of her wedding, it was I who did her hair, smoothing it back and securing it with a white Goody ponytail holder.
All of which is why I so love this poem.
|The Secret of Youth, by Micah Daniels
Last night I asked my mother to cornrow my hair
My black has always resided in braids
For years my hair was cultivated into valleys and hills
I am 18 and still sit between my mother’s knees
I want to be 30 sitting between my mother’s knees
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