Doris was black like midnight in December.
She used to have hair like a white girl,
straightened with auburn highlights.
Saw her on a bus one day in Disney World,
of all places, round dark face
somehow brighter with an internal purpose,
her hair gone, cropped close to her crown.
Doris told me how she had wrestled with death
and won – for now – and in so wrestling faced
her true self and saw hate in her eyes,
that by straightening her hair she was hating
how she was born with thick course African hair,
she needed to be who she was to be free from Death,
free to live, while she could live.
In the cutting,
she felt a rush in her spirit,
a rush of life, of truth, of living water.
She drank it down full.
When I last saw her,
on that bus outside of Epcot,
she was a woman who loved herself and life.
My hair is thick and blonde from birth,
turning naturally brunette as I age.
I was raised believing
that over-forty women should keep their hair short,
else they look like they are trying to look young.
Though I believed as taught,
I never knew what that meant.
When I was younger, trying to look older,
I kept my hair shorter.
But as I move well past forty,
myself a mother now and
able to release the instruction of another age,
I’ve let my hair go where it may and grow.
I now recognize it as a gift from my creator.
It is thick and wavy
the envy of my friends.
I can go to sleep with it wet,
and it will obey me most mornings,
and when it has its own will,
it does not embarrass me.
Instead, it slowly, gently helps define me.
As it grows, something in me
lets go of old ideas – each half inch
another release – and embraces
like the breaking of winter ice,
Written as response to: http://vesperinlimbo.wordpress.com/2009/10/08/medusa/