blonde hair black roots
You Have Black Hairs
by A.J. Huffman

on your head, my two-and-a-half-year-old
niece exclaims with glee, pulling at the roots
a thousand moments of everyday
life prevent me from coloring for weeks
more than is considered acceptable. Like mine,
she squeals, holding a handful of her own
tiny curls to my scalp, forcing me to smile,
revel in the innocent acceptance, forget
that she does not understand the distinctive
streaks of gray weaving through the dark
and the accompanying denial that drives me
to bleach them, repeatedly, into temporary

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I wrote this piece because it was the sweetest reminder to color my overdue roots I had ever received.  Children just have a way of softening the blow on things that can be embarrassing or come across as rude when pointed out by an adult.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: A.J. Huffman has published 12 solo chapbooks and one joint chapbook through various small presses.  Her new poetry collections, Another Blood Jet (Eldritch Press), A Few Bullets Short of Home (mgv2>publishing), Butchery of the Innocent (Scars Publications), Degeneration (Pink Girl Ink) and A Bizarre Burning of Bees (Transcendent Zero Press) are now available from their respective publishers and  She is a four-time Pushcart Prize nominee, a two-time Best of Net nominee, and has published over 2,400 poems in various national and international journals, including Labletter, The James Dickey Review, Bone Orchard, EgoPHobia, and Kritya.  She is also the founding editor of Kind of a Hurricane Press.