This submission comes from an 18 year old girl from London, who wishes to remain anonymous. This poem is about her experiences of washing her afro textured hair when she was young.
When she was in year 4, she almost drowned in a swimming pool and from then on she had a fear of washing her hair.
She says: "In the first stanza I look above at the water droplets which look like crystals in my hair and they drip onto my shoulders while I fear what comes next. Then in the third, my mother puts the shampoo and conditioner in the hair. In the last, she pours the bucket of water over my hair to wash it out and I feel like I am drowning."
I looked above me and saw the crystals.
They stared back at me, crystalline and clear.
They could drop any moment
And they did.
Sweat dripped down my back
Or was it water? I couldn’t tell.
I couldn’t even tell if I was water,
Or if I was some sort of being made for land.
My mouth turned dry as the chemicals forced their way back into my mouth,
So manufactured and so, so,
Cold. I couldn’t get rid of the taste if I tried.
Slowly I looked up again at the spider-like corkscrews that were my hair.
How could it be my enemy when we were one?
How could it hurt me like this?
The agony tore through me like a waterfall,
Pain ricocheted through my scalp as I braced myself for the last stage.
I held my breath and let the tsunami take over.
Source. Artwork by Lia aka @expressionisrad.
[Image description: a drawing of a woman wearing a black turtleneck, dark pink lipstick and her afro hair is left loose.]