Roots

Hair

I carry history in my hair

Generations of thick tangled tresses
Colored with shame at the roots
stripped, dyed, burned, fried
trying unsuccessfully to alter its DNA.
Since birth, my hair has danced violently to a beat of its own
Tautly twined coils stretched like the goatskin that cover djembe drums
each lock relentlessly rebelling,
defiant like sugar cane trying to make its way through concrete
Often curled in bouncing question marks unsure of its own beauty.
For 35 years these strands have carried inherited misconceptions
that I will pass down to my daughter
as they were passed down to me
recycling inferiority complexes neatly packaged on assembly lines
and carefully placed on the top shelves of our pharmacies
and for $7.99 you too can have soft, beautiful, manageable hair.
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