BN POETRY AWARD: My hair is loud! By Lua Davis (Cameroon)

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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