Inherited Rituals, Grandmother’s hands

 

Sitting

crossed legged

between legs

black combs that glide their teeth from the front of your head to the back

eyes that close

Lips that pierce

shut.

Holding in the gasps – of pain

From the black teeth that Part

That detangle the tangled

pulling the roots

My roots

 

You distract yourself

by concentrating on  the sweet smell

of pink cream

Your head gets pushed to one side

Your head leans on the end of a knee

Or a thigh

To rest your neck

pulling the roots

your roots

 

The hair tickling the top of your nose as it’s pushed forward

Both irritating yet comforting

As comforting as her hands that both inflict pain but also comfort

Fingertips of love

They massage and oil the scalp

And seal your coiled ends

pulling the roots

our roots