Three Spoonfuls of Brown Sugar

by Shakoora Sabree

Porous and dry in mid-February.
Hints of white tinged circles
on elbows, ankles, and knees
play hide and seek with the seasons,
and make their appearance in late winter’s morning air.
Golden sun rises and hands kiss three solid spoonfuls
of Ayumaah’s pure yellow shea butter hello,
and begin to soothingly rub it smooth with pressure for fifteen seconds—
more if there’s time,
as we moisturize each other’s soft spots again,
and again,
and make raw honey, nutmeg, flavored skin shine.
Absorbing all seven light beams of sun’s gold,
leaving it warm, dark, and moist ‘til day’s end.
Like a piece of tasteful cocoa,
lounging in a steamy cup of coconut milk,
melting into swirling puddles,
the coloring of sweetness.

Spring coils of root strength.
Each strand, wrapped intricately around the other
in hugs, for fear mother’s part,
cry out when evenly spaced teeth
pull the end knots out
without fail for twenty one years.
Olive oil drenched scalp,
numb as its crown is styled in a forest of two strand twists—
or a bunny's tail if lazy,
and on special occasions,
rows and rows and rows of corn rolls
that take hours to complete.
Over, middle, under,
pull--tightly mind you,
and repeat.
And repeat.
Perfectly neat tracks that move hairlines back,
and widen shiny foreheads to accompany glossy noses appear.
And leave little black spider hair curls behind
on the carpeted, oil, stained floor.

This is my birth name.
Rooted and earthly deep in fertile soil.
Preserving seeds in great, great grandmother's inheritance.
Every year, mid-April as she buds,
Morning sun rises and ebony, lined smiles,
reflecting a different kind of beauty,
keep trimming hands away.

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