Poetry Archive

Bantu Knots

Illustration by Rosalind McGary

my daughters gaze
wide-eyed at my hair
they’ve never seen this style
in their three and five years of life
oooo mami your hair they say
as they count and name them

rocks on a moon
ladybug polka dots
a hundred and ninety-nine bouncy buns
eyeballs all around town
bushes on a summer sun grassy day

i resist the urge to correct
offer a label other than
what they have divined
there is no enlightenment
better than their own 

they are correct to fascinate
over what grows from our heads

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Filed under: Poetry Archive


Jenise Miller is a mother, urban planner, and writer from Compton. She is a Pushcart-nominated poet and Voices of Our Nations Arts (VONA) alumna. Her writing about Compton, Watts, and growing up in Los Angeles' Panamanian community is featured in her poetry chapbook "The Blvd," as well as in the LA Review of Books, KCET Artbound, Boom California, Cultural Weekly, Dryland Literary Journal, the Acentos Review, and PANK Magazine. You can find her on IG/Twitter @jenisepalante.

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