Box Braiding flow

By MARIAH WHITTSEY

She is an expert yogi Stretching while her fingers
crisscross and extend to make intricate webs of yaki.
Switching from heel to toe, to heel, a flow of
movement that echoes back 

and forth through the arch of her foot A brief
curving of her spine with an inhale, The
tightening of the silk wrap around her belly, And
the drowsy baby on her back and then the slight
shake that accompanies relief 

Every time she exhales another braid is finished 

She glides across the sunken wood floors,
Between the low leather chairs Chin high
above her shoulders, 

She will grace five heads In one day
Knows nothing of a 9 to 5 Weaving three
pieces of hair over and over From 6 am to
9 pm or 6 am-12 pm Or 6 am till whenever
it takes 

There are no days off for the harpist of coils Every day she
practices her songs on stretched onyx locks, As she
switches from English to Igbo Acting as the singer and the
orchestra Yelling over Nollywood films with the other girls in
the shop Quietly cawing to the baby blanketed in silk,
Braiding hair, and ordering egg drop soup from the spot
down the street