Self-Portrait with Braid

Ama Codjoe

In the morning my eyes look thirsty
like a willow leaning toward
its reflection. My mother waits

inside the circles. One day
I will remember her at her last age
and see her peering from the windows

of my face. Motherless, without a second
mirror, I will part the back of my hair
with the third side of a comb, blind

to the crookedness of the line. My black
hair, brown against a raven’s wing, will know
the habits of my hands adding and subtracting

until my fingers make small pirouettes.
I will open the bobby pins with my teeth
and secure two uneven braids to the place

where my mother’s hands cradled the weight
of my head before I was strong enough
to carry it on my own.

Last updated August 19, 2022