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A Love Letter to My Bonnet

Updated: Sep 1, 2022

By Sara Diaz

I met you later in my life,

Later than I should have.

You were supposed to be an emblem passed down to me from my ancestors’ love,

But I grew up too long without your sweet comfort.

Mother says “Prim and Proper.”

Keratin treatments etched trench lines into my head,

Creating cracks and painful twists that dance around with a maniacal grin.

The sword of the plenty dug into the fruit that bears witness.

The serpent said to me, “If you take a bite out of this fruit,

You will be like the other who claims to create God.

I will camouflage you with protection

At the price of your soul.”

But, how could I not get caught?

As the humidity grew,

My days were timed.

My bent roots,

Exposed to plastic polyester pillows,

Invited demons into my dreams those nights.

They fed on my weaknesses that formed on a foundation of quicksand,

Timing me on how much of myself I could surrender to the other.

I walked onto foreign lands with eyes that could not see.

Where I was too exotic for the predators that dug my grave behind me.

They stuck pencils into what they called my “Lion’s Mane.”

I sought acceptance in their treachery,

And still, I refused your protection.

Yet, time forces us to meet with Fate,

Who offers us a passage of revolution.

My eyes fluttered open to the world around me,

and oh how the sunlight hit!

It reached for the dead roots of my dry land and sent out for the rain,

Who invited a flood of abundance

To grow the vines on my head

as they spring and bend and curl

and move in the summer’s breeze.

Your offer of protection was still open,

And though I was cautious of you,

Embarrassed of your sight at first.

You continued to veil me from spiritual warfare.

Thus, the tyranny of the world that tried to control me

Birthed a beautiful rebellion within me.

You are weaved with golden thread.

You protect my crown from falling.

You offered my ancestors strength in solidarity.

You granted me security without the price of my soul,

But by telling me to “Honor thy self.”

You allowed me to love my roots,

And the land from which I rose.