by Mara Cavallaro
chamomile tea tastes like nothing,
but looks like honey, amber, warm creaky wood, melting sunshine, blonde hair.
i used to stand outside my grandma’s door clutching my towel-cape with
fingernails stained red by the thirsty earth i grew in
while my mom poured
a bucket of chamomile tea over my black hair,
to make it lighter.
this ritual meant half an hour in the beating equatorial sun, and
an infinity of staring at the mud reborn beneath my flip flops,
praying my hair would similarly be transformed,
into golden yellow strands.
i touch a finger to my scalp at noon and expect a sizzle.
my hair, forever stubborn, is unchanged, but i am transformed by the chamomile,
reborn a daffodil.
as the sunflower stretches towards a vision it will never reach, the daffodil
leans down toward the earth it came from,
in awe of its own beauty,
and the mothers, grandmothers, and great grandmothers it came from,
their black hair and knowing eyes.
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