come morning, my hair tighten and wound themselves
to fit into thin braids, knitted as one in elaborate dos
wince in discomfort before accepting their fate
sit like dutiful nationals— head down
and ears twitching in wait of liberation.

deprived of resources and rights, my hair is inundated
by bands of settlers—scattered specks of white.
infiltrating my scalp, they doggedly stick to their posts
tucked away yet ever-present, coaxing me
to tear into them. but to little avail.

over the day, my hair sways with the wind, taking pride
in its little victories— escaping in clusters, gathering
together in peaceful protest, ballooning upwards with
the sheer force of its will, uncontainable.

by night, my hair are ungovernable; with a mind of their own
a free nation-state in disarray– plundered and segregated
partitions revealing terror hideouts and barren wilds
barely bound together by a shared strand of hope.


-Ananya Grover, Amity International School, Noida


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