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Matted, twisted, dread loc’d

afros of thick wavy knots

a texture of curls inherited.

Visions of childhood braids 

adorned with pink butterfly barrettes,

my hair is singularly unique.

As a child you wouldn’t see my hair advertised on T.V. 

or products on the shelves of local grocery stores,

never plastered on billboards.

A neighborhood secret of black owned

beauty parlors filled with the scent of

straightening irons flattening the glory of resistant waves.

Increased heat and an abundance of grease

pomade burns were the badge of getting my hair ‘Did.’

I wore that scar like a mark of passage

abandoning my knots and tightly wound waves

I reached for the dream of manageability

as I tried to fit in with the status quo.

Today, the young grow their tight curls

with identity and acceptance of 

its kinkiness, never combed or cut.

I’ve learned to love the crown my mother wore

not to be touched out of curiosity

only admired for its individuality


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Dana I. Hunter is one of the Top Ten Poets in the 2021 NAMI NJ: Dara Axelrod Expressive Arts Poetry Contest. She has been published in MIGHTIER—Poets for Social Justice, Adelaide Literary Magazine, and at JerryJazzMusician.com. Her script STEVI won honorable mention at Scriptapalooza in 1998. She received her BA in Communications from Upsala College. Living with bipolar disorder, she is an African American writer who is an advocate for mental health and ending the associated stigma.

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