One Poem by Keisha Cassel

Compassion Study #2

“What are you doing with your hair?”

My priorities are:
-my job
-French (I am failing, je suis fatigue)


“Sit down I’ll braid it for you.”

It is shorter—
buzzed with my friends’ clippers in a hallway.

“You have hair like my mother’s, your great mother. When she got cancer and started chemo treatments, she’s the only person I know that didn’t lose her hair.”

I am letting it grow.
The tight curls from my girlhood are returning
accumulating in the corners of shower stalls.


“I don’t know what the school is doing to you, but you can always come home.”


Keisha is grappling with the mortifying idea of being known and sometimes writes poems.