Why I Wrap My Hair By Jamilah Muhammad


I wrap my hair up high

sensing my predecessors

congratulate my effort

recalling images in books,

of sisters from the motherland

observing me, as I observe them on pages

cloth on my beans

introduces me as queen

before words are spoken

curiosity of my modesty

conceals what’s been undone

permitting the sensation of accustomed,

customs to seep thru threads interlaced with memory

of a former me, lost found nations, family legacy

I wrap my hair in scarves, hijabs, turbans and hats

covering to emulate what’s now imitated on purpose

With purpose a force field to shield eyes from sons that shine

in the directions of sweet smells soft smiles coupled with femininity

Quranic verses and hadith have taught me

meaningful pulls, tugs, knots, drapes, twist to create

what complements

warmed skin tones, strong shaped noses, cheekbones and full lips

colorful fabric adorned upon our heads, necks and décolletages

decorative protection from eyes that stray

the higher pile the better

height displays virtuous posture

pride in our stride as what they think is hiding is saving

My wrap is linked to faith

My garment, my garment

a state of mind expressed in dressed

dress coded in verse

A visible sign of faith, respect, morality

My Dean be tested

colorful fabric rolled around my skull,

Wrapping me into submission,

guiding each position as I pray.