for ReadWritePoem March 31, 2008
We had to eavesdrop then write a prose poem.
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Standing out in the hallway between classes I heard one guy say to another:
“Hey, man, your hair looks especially fro-ish today.”
And that reminded me of my own hair when I was their age.
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When I was sixteen, I’d do anything for straight hair. Before dances Anita would get the ironing board out, lay a dish towel on top of my curls, put a hot iron on it, and I would pull my straight hair out. I’d shake my head back and forth to make my hair fly like a comet tail.
In those Beatles-crazy days, I used U.N.C.U.R.L. and Curl Free to look like everyone else. It never worked.
I’d wrap my freshly-Prelled hair around my head using it as a huge roller then sit under a space-suit-looking hair dryer for a couple hours and pray that it wouldn’t rain or get humid. It always did.
In college, once, on a rainy morning, I taped the middle third of my bangs to my nose, and used clips to hold the other thirds straight against the sides of my head until I made it to class. I huddled under an umbrella to hide this straightening device. Wouldn’t you know, a guy approached me from behind, put his arm around me, and asked if he could share my umbrella. I tried to hide my face but when he saw the alien walking with him, he took off.
Now that I’m older, I let my shoulder-length hair have its own way. Remember those banana curls your mother would spend hours creating by wrapping your hair around her fingers? Mine does that automatically.
Last week, I had to go to the garage my husband visits after work each afternoon, to get something from him. After I left, one of the other guys in there asked him if I had dreadlocks!
And tonight, when my logger husband got home, he buried his face in my hair and said, “Mmmm, you smell good.” I said, “After a day at school?” He said simply, “You smell better than a skidder.”
Just a small victory for a curly-headed misfit.