Issue 24 / Winter 2021 / Special Issue: Pleasure
twisting and coiling a woman’s hair. Her nimble
fingers’ motions repeat with each lock, and I think
of childhood seated there between mother’s legs
as she once divided sections of my hair.
There’s comfort in hands tending to one’s scalp:
the familiar massaging in of oils, the comb
parting and sectioning, the deft fingers moving
effortlessly twining braid after braid. As mother
and child, we were held together by invisible strands.
A ritual grown out of too soon.
When else in life does one yield the body
to another when not in sickness or in love?
And it is as sensuous as an embrace and longed for—
that primal, human thing, that touch.
Ellen June Wright was born in Bedford, England of West Indian parents. She has worked as a consultant on guides for three PBS poetry series. She has been published in Louisiana Literature, Exit 13, Fourth River, and Hurricane Review, and is the founder of Poets of Color virtual poetry workshop.