ode to edge control gel

By Theresa Lola

You body of viscous liquid that drapes my hair into a cape to
conceal my shame. You italicise my insecurity so it reads
like sleeked back baby hairs. I had become the people
I chuckled at, I would tweet #noedges and pour my
laughter in between the thin hair strands of others. You
loosened Karma’s buckle on me, reduced the number of
eyes gawking at the naked circle of scalp on my edges.
It was not the domineering tug of weaves or braids that
caused my breakage. The void inside me had replicated
itself on my scalp, spread its fire to my hair strands and
turned my edges into an extinct forest. My mother and
I listened as the doctor said hair loss can be the body’s
reaction to stress, asked if it was due to my exams, or boy
trouble; I had no answer. Sometimes it’s impossible to tie
your hollowness to tangible things. Doctor handed me
a white cream to rub out the indignity, told me to give
the wait for hair growth a few weeks. While I waited you
leapt in without asking for a backstory. You poured shine
to my thin hair edges as if to say my crown deserves to be
polished, even when a jewel is missing.


Directed by Matthew Thompson.

Ode to Edge Control Gel © Theresa Lola, first published in In Search of Equilibrium (Nine Arches Press, 2018).