When the soft wind brushes my face,
I watch it settle on my mother's hair,
rustles it, blows up a handful
before creating a tremulous hair quake;
My mother’s right-hand hits her neck,
scrapes through her bunch of hair,
grabs a sheath between her fingers,
sinking her short fingernails into them,
before she stares at me with a smile.
I watch her with thickening tears,
how she sobs when she asks my father
permission to visit the local hairdresser.
My father, though has good reasons,
for his usual dalliance with time;
She spends all day before a manual mirror
while the hairdresser gleans her scalp;
In the end, he notices no difference
in the spaces between different times;
though I see my mother’s face wear a light
Each time she returns from the hairdresser,
The bruises against her upper neck vanish,
the dimples on her cheeks deepen;
The quiet glow on her face enlarges
more than the faint sparkle in our room.
Once, I drift my hands through her thick hair,
pet some strands apart, fiddle with the gash,
before drawing down the strands to hide the scar,
which I’m sure my father does not wish to see.
Jonathan Chibuike Ukah lives in London with his family. His poems have been featured and will soon be featured in Strange Horizons, The Fairy Tale Magazine, Atticus Review, The Pierian, Ariel Chart International Press, Boomer Literary Magazine, etc. He is the winner of the Voices of Lincoln Poetry Contest 2022. His poetry collection, Blame the Gods, was a top 6 finalist at the Africa Diaspora Award of Kingsman Quarterly 2023.