“i like your hair” // a poem

I like your hair

“I like your hair,” I say,

but what I really mean is,

“I like how your hair reminds me of soft summer songs,

of strawberry milk

and clouds in my palms.

I think that when it is summer,

your hair curls at the ends in sweat

and sticks to your blushed cheeks and neck.

I imagine you pushing your bangs from your brow

with the back of your hand

because the sun is laughing now.

Everything is laughing.

Mother.

Father.

Sister.

Friend.

Teacher.

 

Not you.

 

The list goes on in sickening charm.

The sun is still laughing

when you write those names down your arm.

 

I think your hair is like that of a fairy

because your blistered hands and bruised knees

do not speak of the war your carry

deep within the chasm of your body.

 

Slamming bedroom door,

boy’s room, your clothes on his floor

( not enough )

Slipping grades,

curses across your chest in bold red letters

( not enough )

Cigarette poised between mouth and fingers

(thought and choice)

(dance and deed)

NOT ENOUGH.

 

You look into the mirror and see a hurricane,

you see a body as a puddle after the rain.

 

So you dye your hair

because you want attention

without screaming so loud for it.

You want attention

because you find part of yourself broken.”

 

I know this.

But I do not say this.

Instead, I set down your tray

and your cherry coke and say,

“I like your hair.”

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