This is a poem about hair.
It may sound superficial but there’s more to the story
These strands of thread are tied to the thoughts we
think as we try categorise each other
And the maker of all knows all by number
But, this poem was born for my firstborn bubba
When he entered the world he had glorious thick, dark hair
Like his mother
And she said,
Let’s not cut it until at least two years old
Let it be wild,
like the heart of our child
And so it grew,
and it said something about being free.
But the boxes come early and things must fit,
We must see the world through the lenses we get
So as my boy made his way through the world looking free
People began to say, ‘Wow, isn’t she
a beautiful little girl that you have?’
And I, fresh Dad
traipsed through mental mazes
As I heard their comments, saw their gazes
This is son, not daughter; boy, not girl
Why are we so quick to divide up the world
Based on arbitrary factors like the length of the curls?
And I felt some discomfort over the confusion
And some more discomfort over my internal responses
If I care so much when he is mistaken
Am I feeding into this system of simplistic division?
And so I decided
I want to be wild, I want to be free
And rather than boy just bearing the image of me
It is I who would would like to become more like he
And so out grew the locks, up went the bun
Wild and wavy, like father, like son
A small act of saying to the children I parent
That our external differences may be most apparent
But the length of our hair, the colour of skin
the clothes that we wear or our favourite things
These do not change the deep stuff we carry within
(we are all fragile bundles of the same stuff within)
We are complex for sure, but we’re also quite simple
This is part of the paradox of the humanity riddle
And so, this is a poem about hair.
But it’s also about being wild and free
Whether you rock dreadlocks, a bun, a mullet or fade
Blonde, brunette, ranga, hot-pink or grey
May your hair just be one of the ways that you say
The way that I am is more than ok.
Whether you are he, she, or don’t fit either so cleanly
May you know who you are, and learn to love yourself freely.