m sudlow
by Maureen Sudlow

as a child
I coveted the thick plaits
that adorned the heads of others
but that would never be my lot
my hair just would not grow
and if it showed any signs
of getting below my ears
was ruthlessly cut

our hair was washed outside
with a jug of cold water
to rinse the soap away
and sometimes I would sneak
the dregs from the beer
in an attempt to bring shine

but it could have been worse
my sister’s children
were shorn under a basin
and wandered through childhood
with fringes and two inch shelves
above their skinny necks

I thought they might be
left with trauma
from such treatment
but they survived

© Maureen Sudlow

PHOTO: The author as a child.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Maureen Sudlow is a resident of the Kaipara in the north of New Zealand. She is a member of The New Zealand Society of Authors and writes poetry and children’s picture books. Her poetry has been featured in various online and print journals, and she has just published her first poetry anthology Antipodes, which is available from her blog site www.kiwis-soar.com.