“Part Heaven” by Madison Beckstrand

Divinity flows through my fingertips,
practiced precepts slip from my lips,
I lean back into my mother’s grip
let heaven part my hair
feel the sun’s glare—
And breathe.

A hot comb separates dawn and dusk
seven days before another change to the husk…
Divine wrath smells like chemical straighteners—
stings like compliments from strangers.

Hands placed upon a head.
Blessings prayed for the dead.
Remember the many that bled
for styles reborn for the future

God is a mother’s hand turning my head this way
and that way to braid my future so it frames my face right.