April 9, 2014

I Once Wore Braids. ~ Jana Buhlmann {Poem}

alopecia, bald

I once wore braids.

The part was precise.

Two halves, pulled tight.

Brown fabric elastics

at each tip.


My first born

—the sister I tended to—

she wore them too.

Re-braided over and over again,

yearning for balance.

Skin glowing white

beneath her swimsuit.

Middle part bronzed

As summer played out.


And now there is another

to whom I tend.

She talks of braids and

the first

threaten imbalance.

This one’s a bit too tight, Mom,

but that’s ok.


In the mirror

is a grown woman.

She does not look to reflection

as her hands weave three channels.

These elastics are blue.



At the moment of completion

two pairs of eyes


New braids hang below

what has been an eternity

of disbelief,

and has gently become

the strength of a mother’s

smooth naked head.


Spider chrysanthe(mum):

Inked floral

bursting from the mind of a woman.

Rounded by the co(s)mic curiosity

of her child.


(adapted from the original)


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Apprentice Editor: Marcee Murray King / Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo: Hebdon Photography

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