If God Knows My Hair: a poem

Photo by Zayn Thiam

Photo by Zayn Thiam

Today I thought about God:

I remember learning that God knew every hair on my head. 
I'm imagining God winding every curl around itself,
Curving what is straight into what is natural. 

I thought about my hair, the way it's always coiling and re-coiling:

I wonder why it shrinks to a tiny fraction of its full length, 
And then I remember that I'm trying to measure what comes out of my head
On a metric that was built to idealize what is straight. 


If God knows every hair on my head,
I imagine that God understands what it means to detangle
hundreds of thousands of pieces
one by one. 

I wonder why my hair mats together every chance it gets, 
And then I remember that when the roots of trees curve and grow between and among each other,
they can withstand earthquakes. 

I realize that when ignorance threatens to rip the ground beneath our feet,
Everything that isn't straight will need to mat together
until there isn’t enough coconut oil in the world to separate us.

I think about why my hair acts straight every time someone tries to destroy it. 
I think about how many people act straight every time someone tries to destroy them.  


So if God actually knows the hair on my head,
Maybe God could also 4c what pain it would take to force straightness onto a head so queer.
Maybe God saw Bible verses being written  

Like hot combs waiting to burn,

Like relaxers left in too long,

Like wondering when I should say something to someone about how much it hurts,
Like picking at the scabs on my scalp while simultaneously scheduling my next appointment.  


When I started college, I decided to cut out all the straight parts and see what grew in. 
I never understood how destructive it was to constantly straighten until I saw my natural self begin to thrive.

I don't know what God meant to do by putting something so un-straight on top of a head so un-straight, but there are reasons they say this is unmanageable
Not because it is impossible to love,
or to care for,
but because it is impossible to subdue. 

Sure, I could try to make it straight, and avoid everything that might let it revert back. 
But I know I'd rather not panic every time it *almost* gets wet.  

And maybe God understands.
If not, at least maybe God knows. 


Edited by O.A.O.

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Image description:

"The photograph depicts a Black femme in a crowd of people outside at Afropunk. They have long, textured red hair and are wearing sunglasses that fade from blue to pink. They are wearing a fishnet crop top with a triangle-shaped bra underneath and have a black choker around their neck.

About Zayn Thiam:

Zayn Thiam is an African queer artist living in D.C. after 27 years of hopping around the globe. Photography, writing, painting and henna tattooing are a few of their loves. They are also an energetic healer and loves to read the tarot for themself and others. See their artwork at @negrotesque and @twocameracats on Instagram.

About Samara Kasai:

Samara is obsessed with loving herself in all of her blackness and queerness, even when it's hard. They are very open about their mental illnesses and eventually could see themselves working in public health. He sees writing as catharsis and a form of therapy, and is always looking for excuses to share creative work. Samara prefers all gender pronouns.