my hair weighs heavy

in it I hold love,
a tale told through the coconut oil
my grandmother tended it with

in it I carry her pride
de ser Taína

dense are the curls that spring
in response to the question
“what’s up with your hair?”

they answer: it is wild
but not in the way of the colonizer

wild for it does not yield
for when told to be tame it grows louder
for it remembers that “wild” to the onlooker means
“not yet conquered”

what is up with my hair is
it was born centuries ago
in some barrio en Puerto Rico,
then called Borikén
where it was nursed to life by the island’s humid air

what is up with my hair is
it tells stories
and it grows much like I have


what is up with my hair is
it is thick like el Yunque
and it misses home

what is up with my hair is
several months ago
it reclaimed its place
and it refuses to leave

my hair weighs heavy

and it carries the force
with which I tried to brush it straight
and dreams of a land long taken

it is a jíbaro history book
and I read it every morning

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