Naked Reflections Poetry: Shameless and Unapologetic

Prose Challenge Inspired by “Hairs” from The House on Mango Street

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Missing Hair

Everybody in our family has different hair.  My father’s hair was soft and thick but thin on top. His face stood out more than his hair. One day, cancer took his hair, but he kept it bald. No one really knew what he lost.

My sister, Pam, always had more hair than everyone. Her hair pulled her scalp. Does being tender-headed hurt down deep like being hard-headed? She is tender-headed. I am hard-headed. Pam’s hair tangled and matted when she was a little girl because she liked to leave it alone. She cried when my mother bothered it.

My hair was a creative project. From 2, 4, to 6 ponytails, to press ‘n curls, perms, and French braids. I messed it up, fixed it up, and twisted it up like gossip.

But my mother’s hair, my mother’s hair, like events on an endless timeline. Little girl pigtails, big bangs, pin curls, wigs like movie stars, and rollers with bobbie pins, and then wigs again because one day cancer took my mother’s hair. I remember the day when chemo hair filled her hands like clumps of grass unclaimed by their roots. She decided to shave it all off. No patches. No pity. Just prayers for power.

I saw a lady who reminded me of my mother. Silver hair trimming a golden face. Royalty shining from each gentle curl.  I wanted to comb her hair, brush it into something beautiful like a painting that holds memories before its colors begin to fade. I wanted to stand behind her at a kitchen table cluttered with curlers and cream, and roll her hair while she told me stories about how much hair my grandmother had. She was tender-headed too. I wanted her to tell me she loved me even with my hair a mess. I wanted to smell the oil sheen and her perfume one more time.


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