I wonder If black children

Image of Long Story Short Award - 2022
Image of Poetry
I wonder if black children
are tender headed because of ghost follicles
rooted long long before now, like
before hair grease and blow outs,
like around times we were taught about;
about some far away peoples
being herded onto boats and stripped bald
before their voyage, transported to some new land,
headscarves tied onto women
to cover up new growth.

Maybe I stopped crying every
time granny brought out the parting
comb to tie some cornrows onto my
head because the pain started feeling marrow
deep and the patterns became familiar
somehow, somehow I finished up all those braid
ends without being taught any technique and
I'd reach for more without being told to
keep working, told that it was almost
sundown and grownups had work to head
back to tomorrow morning.

And maybe that pain and pattern weft becomes
intrinsic over generations
disappears between every hair loop and
hides under every bead
maybe it gets tied down with rubber bands and relaxer
or buried rhythm deep into hymns and prayer,
into family get togethers and good ass food,
kept safe alongside baby cousins and speakers
that get carried around the neighborhood.