i've done everything to quiet you,
heatwaves and chemical warfare,
every plastic bottle with the promise to tame,
never satisfied, cursing strands with
minds of their own, an enemy of
i'd look in the mirror, patting and pressing and pulling for hours,
thinking with each touch that i could
work some miracle, dull my curls' spirit.
she was the girl who laughed too loud,
who always meant it—how could she always be so sure of herself?
i wanted to cover her mouth, to get to the bottom of
the insecurity beneath her bellows of laughter,
but she kept on smiling, head to the sky, eyes ever-wide, full of sunshine.
every morning i'd shush my hair, every curl a giggle, a song on repeat in my mind for as long as i could remember,
but i'd never really heard the words—
never swayed to the beat or paid mind to the dips and crescendos.
what if all the answers were in her song, the truth, the freedom, the life i'd tried to turn lifeless?
what if her resilience was a sign of my own strength? she'd overcome it all,
snapping back no matter what i did to strip her of her identity.
i am my curls;
i dance to feel alive,
i am unapologetically untame,
i am the girl who laughs until it hurts to breathe, whose stride has purpose, whose spirit yells at the top of its lungs because it can't help but announce itself.
for the first time, i am listening.