When Joan Braided My Hair
Joan came in March.
The last frost had thawed and her soft green tracksuit
dampened my mother’s gaping black pyjamas.
The bald head, the protruding collarbone, the sunken eyes that held everyone’s attention were swallowed by her comfortable joy.
In an act so small, it scarce deems remembering, she started to braid my hair.
As her fingers brushed my scalp, she reminded me that I was more than a cancer patient’s daughter, more than my mother’s offspring.
I never wanted to take that plait out, for fear that my new identity would unravel and when she left to go back to Cece, I cried.