Matted, twisted, dreadlocked
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,
or products on the shelves of grocery stores
never plastered on billboards.
A neighborhood secret of black-owned
beauty parlors filled with the scent of
straightening combs used to flatten resistant coils.
Increased heat and an abundance of grease,
pomade burns were the badge of getting your hair ‘Did.’
I wore that scar like a mark of passage.
Years ago, I abandoned my knots and tight waves,
to achieve the appearance of white folks' hair
and fit in with the status quo.
Today, the young grow their naps
with identity and acceptance of
It's 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.
Dana I. Hunter was one of the Top Ten Poets in the 2021 NAMI NJ: Dara Axelrod Expressive Arts Poetry Contest. She has been published in New Jersey Bards Poetry Review: Anthology 2023, LOVE IN THE ORIGINAL LANGUAGE – ANTHOLOGY, MIGHTIER—Poets for Social Justice, table/FEAST Literary Magazine, and Open Minds Quarterly.