Real Family Grows Your Hair for You

Two poems by Donna Weaver

Real Family Grows Your Hair for You

Baby Brother Shape-Up

Half-brother and I grew up without much
hair on our heads. Anthony was the boy 

and I was a girl, mistaken for a boy, we shared 
a barber. Mom said my hair was not right for 

ponytails, pigtails. With a barber’s help, I believed 
mom would help me look pretty, whiter. She never tried

her brush on my nappy roots, only fingertips to comb. 
Nine months after my 40th birthday, I texted my breast 

cancer diagnosis. I was a near-bald preschooler, so I am 
not afraid of chemotherapy taking my hair.

-Anth I need to tell you something.
-Hearing it’s bad news. Love u more than anything sis. Please don’t be dying.

Christmas Eve, Anthony started growing my gift. Eight months later
on the day of my breast reconstruction I received a selfie.

-Haven’t cut my hair since u texted me about ur cancer diagnosis 
in case u got chemo & needed a wig. Hair’s almost down to my ass for u

-Love you, brother.
I cry and smile because Anthony grew up and I don’t need chemo.

-This was meant to be urs lol and it’s even kinda curly for ur head
I laugh out loud because I want to wear some of my brother’s hair.

Boardwalk Ambassadors

I want to know how much there is to scream about 
in a city this small? I cannot call police on the brown

girls below my window with no names 
they call each other bitch. Maybe they scream 

in the dark because they know what is coming at 10 p.m.
after the curfew alarm sounds. Are they 9th graders? 

Nah, not yet. July afternoons they push the boys away
with no facial hair. They hold hands like kindergartners, 

pull each other across sidewalks like they’re going somewhere. 
An alley behind Dollar General is more adventurous than the boardwalk. 

They would find the oceanfront if they just held onto one another, 
and crossed the wide, uptown intersection at Baltic & Atlantic Avenues. 

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