Cover Your Eyes

What’s worse —

losing your bestie

or your granny?

One out of every

five young girls

will never know

love is getting

your hair braided.

Put your head down.

Cover your ears.

Hot-combs untangle

roots and recount

infinite designs

leading lost souls home.

Between warm legs

heavy hands prepare

Sunday dinner.

Step one: mix two cups

of sugar with one cup

of butter — stir.

When we were teens

she told me to

put my hands on my

knees like this

and pop my back.

That made the

boys pull up.

In Liberia, over 50 percent of

women suffer from FGM.

Put your head down.

Cover your eyes.

Hear the screams.

What is a friend?

An annoying person

who cares for you like

an oyster does dirt.

What is love?

The most ridiculous

feeling that God gave

us until death

do us part.

This blood is not

an offering.

This water needs

no bridge.

God knows.

This family

curse is broken

Loyalty is a rainbow

of communication

between worlds.

What’s worse —

the beginning

or the end?

Essah Cozett is a poet and a Doctoral Caribbean Literature and Languages student at the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras campus. She is a first-generation Liberian-American, born and raised in Georgia. Her poetry explores women’s empowerment, identity, and spirituality through African influences.