Hand wrapped around a black child’s nightmare, the pressing comb.

Quite honed in the art of torture.

Do you remember your ears being torched, in the same place, every single time?

Your temple sizzling, eyes wide, the acrid smoke blown in your face?

Your mom slapped your face to the ground when you lipped back. Face/Off!

You swore you heard your friends giving a play-by-play in all the ways

your face contorted from that iron hand.

What about that time she goaded you into calling the police,


You found yourself in darkness because she shoved you in the closet

and slammed the door in your face.

She threatened, “you better not be here and you better not be gone!”

What to do?

Almost every night you spy on her, on her knees, in the traditional prayer pose

hands clasped together crying out to God that you kids are driving her crazy!

Her hair is falling out by the clumps, she’s had at least four cups of coffee that night

she has the jitters and lives in her night robe.

What about that time you never knew she watched over you, your brothers and sisters

stroking tight coils smiling watching you sleep. As tiresome as it is to be a mother, she

never stopped caring.