tuko Pamoja

Written by Julia Vu

(n.) lit. “we are together”; a shared sense of purpose and motivation in a group – it transcends mere agreement, and implies empathetic understanding among the members of the group

they had taught her to lay down her
edges, to tame the wild locks that framed her
history. they taught her to divide her
scalp into rows, to pull her kinks through iron
plates. they taught her to erase her lineage, to
steam the coils out of her will. her hair
curled against the world’s current; it was
unruly; resistant to order.

it occurred to her that perhaps the
oppression has been conditioned into the
roots of her heritage and perhaps her mother and her
mother’s mother had, too, been shamed for their hair
follicles. she had been denied the fullness and the
wholeness that she could have
experienced for so long.

the first time she apologized to
singed split ends, she could taste the resistance on her lips.