• Vol. 03
  • Chapter 09
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Defending Mara’s Mop

She goes into her hair to think—a lot,
my daughter’s first grade teacher tells me,
wearing a puckered grin. Her own hair
is bluntly cut, train to fall in line behind
her ears. Her high hairline makes her look
perpetually aghast, which she seems to be now,
thinking about my daughter’s hair. I know
how it looks, having seen Samara like this
a million times before, shutting out the world,
a thick curtain of dark hair framing her face
as she reads or falling so far across her forehead
only a single blue eye peeks out as she daydreams.
I can picture her in the classroom, sitting alongside
the other just so girls who do not have to be asked
to remove the rope of hair from their mouth. I’m forever
threatening to cut it off, to style it myself each morning
no matter how much she protests. But again and again
I discover I don’t really care, that this is just
what I say when I feel the world leaning in, looking past
the child with hair as wild as an animal’s pelt
to the mother who ought to teach her about decorum,
smooth her out and doll her up, subdue her
through beauty lessons. I assure the teacher
that we’ll work on this but I know already
that I’m lying. I won’t play Delilah. I’ll let her
have her untamed hair. I will love her wild.