“You were once teenage purveyor of the white girl gospel — zealous pupil of the hot comb, of oily neck and folded ear. But before that, you were young. You were asked questions about your dead father and your hair. Your first conversation with god — faithless.
Child of the singing forehead.
Child of the frustrated wrist. Your mother yelled because you fell asleep on your aunt’s pillows and now the whole couch smells of you.
Child of amorous pomade. Everyone can tell where you’ve been. Even bus windows remember your name.
Child of the curl that stole the wind’s fury. How could everything about you not be bursting?
Child of the busted chongo.
Child of the broken brush, splitting anything weak in half while still blushing for a gentle hand. You are your own lesson in commitment.
Child of royalty, of the silk scarf before bed. Defender from the cotton resurrected each night to steal you back, every pillowcase a looming field of ghosts.
Child of the rained out funeral.
Child of grocery bag protection. At age twelve, washing your own hair is your first act of humility. Listening to your blackness, your first mode of resistance.
Child of the eloquent scalp: which negotiations did you lose today? How many times did you lift your hands in ceremony to unravel and partition?
Tell us how you learned to fix, fluff, and plait; to wind and plow. How you were late for class and work doing so. How you skipped breakfast. How you tended. How you greeted a new ancestor in the mirror and let their moans trickle and slither down the length of you. How each strand circles back to its own beginning.
Child of inheritance, rejecting gravity & its theorems. The eternal ‘fuck
you’ when the weather catches you unprepared, you curse each
raindrop undoing your labor with its disrespectful weight.
But unlike anything else in the world, when smothered in water,
submerged in a substance thick enough to kill you, nearly drowned and gasping — you rise, and refusing invisibility, grow, to the size all benevolent gods are.”
— Ariana Brown, Invocation