Mom loved my long, blond locks. Dad
thought I looked like a girl. He waited
as long as he could stand, until the tresses
reached my shoulders, snatched
me up and took me to the barber shop
downtown. A man I didn’t know helped
me up onto the booster on his chair
with a smile. When I cried because Mom
had cried, he tried to convince Dad
it was okay to wait. But Dad
insisted, and I left looking like a boy.
It wasn’t long after that my hair darkened
from Mom’s blond to Dad’s raven
CL Bledsoe is the author of a dozen books, most recently the poetry collection Riceland and the novel Man of Clay. He lives in northern Virginia with his daughter.