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Black Root

Khanaja Scott

My sister once told me 

that my hair was like wool 

The same fabric that grew 

from the skull of our beloved, 

holy Jew. Son of God,  

Father in hue 


Upright, my roots 

Down my back if  

abused - the only time  

anyone ever sees 

within me: beauty 


Nappy and kinky and 

thick and rough  

A forest, a battle, an  

opponent so tough that 

We use chemical warfare to tame: 

Rancid, pungent, 

malevolent white stuff 


We blame her if she withers 

Kill her if she is to refuse 

'Cause no matter how much 

we try, she does not  

behave as she is supposed to 

- so we replace her, ironically  

with what our ancestors grew 

Or perhaps give her an implant  

of which she is allergic to 

She is the inside, the bud 

they don't want to bloom 


So they fill her lungs with poison 

Burn her skin with fire 

It breaks her heart and she  

wishes she could scream  


Why am I hated  

Why am I made 

weak when I am  

by far, the most strong? 


I am no witch  

No wicked cast spell 

upon you 


You praise me on the head 

of a doll and your Jew 

But I rest atop you and 

you treat me as a worrisome 

weed and pull me from my 


Fall 2021

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