Motherhood Literature + Art

Ode to My Hair by Charan P. Morris

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The women of my grandmother’s line
are cloaked in polished oak.
Their nipples bare,
silk of budding blooms.

I know my father by the cacti
growing atop my lungs.
The areolas pullulating
from my desert chest
sprout needles that prick lovers’ mouths.

The women of my grandmother’s line
do not wear abandon on their skin,
they are the silk of budding blooms.

I machete his DNA
my skin a map of outstretched hands
coaxing gangly chromosomes.

The women of my grandmother’s line
have gardens between their legs,
groomed Eden.

Father spins a web of spider legs
between my thighs.
I sever the thousand appendages
to make room for a garden.

But they grow back
scaling my stomach like emptiness,
will not let me forget, the reason
razors’ lips rust red
to dig him from epidermis wells.

I am not polished oak.
I do not bloom.
There is
no garden


Charan P. Morris is a New York based poet/educator. A LAMBDA Literary Foundation Fellow, recipient of the Archie D. and Bertha H. Walker Scholarship for a Fine Arts Work Center 2013 workshop and participant in the 2014 Callaloo Workshop Retreat, her work has been published in Sinister Wisdom, Kweli Journal,The Mom Egg, Stand Our Ground anthology, Liberator Magazine and African Voices. In addition to being a eleven-year NYC public school educator, Charan has facilitated poetry workshops with diverse groups of writers including formerly incarcerated youth and graduate students at Columbia University.


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