Poem: Absolute —Jacqueline Woodson

October 15, 2020 | Filed Under Poem for Hela | No Comments

Absolute
Jacqueline Woodson

The summer I was ten a teenager
named Kim butterflied my hair. Cornrows
curling into braids
behind each ear.
Everybody’s wearing this style now, Kim said.
Who could try to tell me
I wasn’t beautiful. The magic
in something as once ordinary
as hair that for too long
had not been good enough
now winged and amazing
now connected
to a long line of crowns.
Now connected
to a long line of girls
moving through Brooklyn with our heads
held so high, our necks ached. You must
know this too – that feeling
of being so much more than
you once believed yourself to be
so much more than your
too-skinny arms
and too-big feet and
too-long fingers and
too-thick and stubborn hair
All of us now
suddenly seen
the trick mirror that had us believe
we weren’t truly beautiful
suddenly shifts
and there we are
and there we are
and there we are again
and Oh! How could we not have seen
ourselves before? So much more
We are so much more.

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