When I was four, I wouldn’t let
my mother brush my hair.
I hated the pull and tug,
roots tearing from scalp,
all to satisfy a mother’s idea of what
perfect children should look like.
Long blonde hair and soldier teeth.
Every day she would take out the brush,
brandishing it like a bayonet,
but fear tactics didn’t work on me.
Feet planted and defiant hands on hips,
I challenged her, ready for battle.
I shrieked and raced down hallways,
hiding in dark closets until
she tired of my antics and gave up.
Let it fall out for all I care.
Waif. Urchin. Stubborn child.
Months passed without the threat of a single bristle.
The pale strands grew into an unruly dreadlock,
a tumble weed spun from white gold and insolence.
I wore my tangled crown with pride
and a satisfied grin of triumph.
One morning, mother came out with scissors
and cut the dreadlock off.
Susan Richardson is living, writing and going blind in Los Angeles. She shares a home with an Irishman, 2 pugs and 2 cats. She was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa in 2002, and in addition to poetry also writes a blog called Stories from the Edge of Blindness.