it looks like it may snap.
so tightly it makes my scalp hurt
from memories of braiding
and I wonder if I’ve ever had a hairstyle
that didn’t hurt
and it looks like – I think –
the criss-cross scars that slaves
happened to grow on their backs
from the whipping post.
then I shake my head and wonder,
why my mind went
the threads are woven together so tightly,
wetted and stripped until they
can lie this way and that way,
tied to each other - like we were, I suppose,
then wonder, why my mind had to go
“we’re all in this together,” sings the basket’s intricate weavings,
binding us for a more beautiful, united artifact.
except, my mother told my brother,
when he was no older than twelve,
“if you see a badge, make sure he
can see your hands. and pull up your pants!”
on his way out the door,
and I didn’t understand.
and the threads that bind
do not carry these truths, these scars -
for they are unite, woven together,
all in this together. all in this together.
except they ask my brother,
where’s the bone for his nose?
except I can still see the blood splatter
on the Fruitvale platform
except over the CB radio,
white truckers with southern drawls
chortle about niggers and silverback gorillas,
and my daddy’s rage
coulda melted away the frame of the car.
and I shake my head,
wondering why my mind went there,
when this basket is so beautiful,
so taught and uniform.
and then I look again and see how the weavings
look like veins, like capillaries,
pulsing and full of life
but maybe it’s just the angle
I am looking at it.
and I nod my head,
knowing why my mind went there,
because I cannot dis-remember
legacies woven through my bloodstream.