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Hair

You sprout unapologetically
Luscious locks
Cascading
Down the grooves of my spine
A point of pride
I have been taught to care for you
Since childhood
Under my mothers watch
You were oiled weekly
Coated in the sweet aroma
Of coconut
It lingers in
My naniji‘s soft hands
Mixed with
atta & masala.

You also live in
Hidden places
Coarse & dark
I rip you from my being
Until beads of blood begin
To form.
Perhaps to mourn
A loss.

I have
Torn
Tugged
Plucked
Cut
You,
You who I so
Cherished,
From myself.

I have excavated
Pieces of you
Trapped beneath layers of skin
Digging you out with
Fervent fingernails.
The cavity you leave behind
Gapes back at me
Raw & pink.

You frame
My brothers’ faces
In ancestry

Yet you also frame them
In the heavy weight of

sneaking suspicions
& twisted terrors.

You flourish in
The dichotomy
Of my love
& hatred
Of you.

But
I could never
Curb your cultivation
For you blossom
From our roots
And our roots,
Well, they’re unbreakable.