first grade

Brini Mitchell


in line
we waited.
mosquitoes buzzing and
humidity nagging.
all awaiting the entry bell.
i was shy, yet eager to
show off my new braids.
mom said it made me look like a princess.
-that made me smile a confidant smile
a voice in line yelled
"Your braids are gross."
I stared at her
longing for
her simple
silken hair
I wished mine would lay
as straight.
I swallowed the knot
in my throat.

"I like them"
she snubbed her nose
then entered our building
as the bell sounded.
I stole away into the
girl's bathroom
and avoided the mirror.
In the mirror my hair would
never lay straight

I locked myself in the furthest
vacant stall,
watching tears hit the linoleum reflection
and proceeded
to unbraid
my mother's creation.

Euphemism Campus Box 4240 Illinois State University, Normal, IL 61790-4240