when they come

they took the menialsinstantly
homes, clothes, toys, toothbrushes
and combs
we missed the combs
more than we expected to
our roots twisted and snarled
like a tiger might
not one in captivity
because we relied on those menials

and they needed us to rely on them

vanity is funny this wayyes
to make a thing beautiful
we o so complained about our hair
that we at least had the right to comb our hair
curly, straight, thick, thin, long, short
we just wanted the combs back
like a bird might
want to keep their feathers
because we relied on still feeling this way

but they needed us to rely on them

so they decided to fix itthen
to make it easier for us to cope
they shaved us all everywhere and it was gone
the hair, inches and miles of bare dry skin, gone
they took it all
not just the stuff on our heads
like a person might
for too many reasons to count
because we relied on our ability to choose

and now we needed to rely on them

© Morgan Christie, extract from ‘when they come‘ (Black Sunflowers Poetry Press, £6)

With kind permission of the author, you can also listen to a reading of the poem here.