This poem is longlisted for BN Poetry Award.

 

Like the ricochet of voices rumbling
down the streets of Washington, D.C.                                 ,,
during the march of 1963. It yells: “Here I am! Here I am!” Even in silence.
My hair is triumphant. Like the exultant echo of my mother’s footsteps as
she glided across that stage to embrace the diploma of a first generation
graduate. It dances to the discord of discrimination, never forgetting that
a symphony is only made with patient persistence. My hair isresilient. Like
the Cameroonian women of my family who toiled selling granuts& palm oil
on the red-clay-soil roadside to ensure that their brothers received education:
women who, despite being regarded 2nd, still moved mountains for themselves
and their kin. It revolutionarily recoils at the oppositional pull of adversity in order        to
revisit the importance of its roots. My hair is poetic. Like songs loftily uplifted by   my
Bakossi people to heaven during prayer. Each strand is the stanza of a love poem to
God. My hair is proud. Like the coalition of kings and queens crowned with the
curls of their           ancestors—whose hair continues to bloom in spite of
the cumbrances of oppression. It blossoms
in common accord with allied heritage
preservation. My hair is intricate. Like
the diverse cloths that kiss the skin
of my African brothers and sisters.
It harbors clusters of contrasting
curl patterns: each beautiful in
its textured diversity. My hair
is a thank you note to the soil
from which we leapt, to sun–
kissed mothers plaiting their
childrens’ ulotrichous locks,
to the men and women
with raised voices and
elevated signs, protest-
ing in Ferguson, MO,
to the parents who
tell their dark-skin
babies, “You are
more than the
world says
you are.”

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