Saturday, April 4, 2020
Apr4Poetry - Mother and Daughter
I'm trying something new, taking a risk this month - participating in
#VerseLove with Sarah Donovan,
hoping to write poetry every day this April.
Today's poem writing prompt is to focus on a physical trait in my family...
Mother and Daughter
Come to think of it,
hair was a thing between us,
keeping us together,
pushing us apart.
"Oh, look at you two,
mother and daughter,
such beautiful hair,
thick, black, and wavy."
I heard this over and over.
In those early years,
she'd preen and primp us both,
I'd cry and protest and wriggle away,
I never cared about my hair, and
her eyes said 'shame on you.'
"It needs to be combed,
it needs to be untangled,
you can't go out looking like that."
I wanted the choice of a simple buzz cut,
like my brothers,
just let me be -
free to climb, run and hide,
work up a sweat.
Exasperated, she styled mine a 'pixie,'
making it conform.
I resented being told to be pretty.
Her eyes said "you don't get a say."
When I look at the family photo,
me, with that soft, perfect curl
in the center of my forehead,
I only see the hour I sat still
so that she could create it, and
her manicured hair, and
her sophisticated smile,
we are a model family.
Her eyes are distant.
By the time I was in high school,
she stayed longer in her bed,
weighed down by mental illness, and
neither I nor my hair was
Mom tried to tame both me and my hair,
and then gave up.
I missed having her wash my hair at the sink,
I missed her playing with my hair,
I missed her eyes noticing me.
So many, many years have gone by,
my hair is now gray,
though thick and playful.
It refuses to grow past my shoulders,
I guess stubborn like me.
Once it hits the nape of my neck,
it decides to be a bush, growing bolder, wide, and wild,
as if still yelling 'let me be!'.
It submits to workweeks with gels and a brush,
but weekends and pandemics
are another thing entirely.
Sometimes my hair covers my eyes.