She Cut Her Braids in Mo(u)rning

By Niharika Bhavsar

Over the bubbling steam of bitter, hot

Chai on the stove,

I listen attentively

to Grandma teaching


How to braid:

Portion the pulsing veins of hair between your fingers.

Turn them over with the delicacy used to turn pages

But with a tighter pull,

And let your

Movements over, under, across

Guide the pattern of in and out. 

Let the coarse threads slip 

Between your fingers–

But not too much, so you can tie it off 

At its feathery end.

Rain hits the window panes.

At such a young age,

Braids were cut–

I wanted them to be cut.

The Mide cut their braids 

In mourning





The extension of the soul


Just as

The blazing new moon of my life


My plaits of hair 


In snips.

I cut my braids to

Free myself 

Of the weight

And relieve my aching head

Held down by their burden,

Burden of not being

Like my friends.

Her long, lengthy, elongated

Braids had their 

Time cut short.

So she,

Thinking of nonconformity


How long they once were 

How they danced when she walked.

She had to go through the journey to find something new,

To look towards the dawn of a new day

And when they grow back again,

The roots will rise like a phoenix.

Her braids had to fall in ash, in order to be rebirthed.