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by Sylvia Riojas Vaughn

Mother yanks my hair, winds it tightly –
skinny plastic rods dig into my scalp.
She applies wave lotion;
ammonia saturates air, stings.
The timer ticks.
Mother shares nothing
about her first date, wedding day,
why she counted on bearing sons.
She cheers my kid brother
playing tackle football on the lawn.
The timer rings.
She rinses my curls.
I wonder if she’ll like the new me.

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