Susmita Bhattacharya – The weight of my hair

The weight of my hair 

is most felt when it comes away 
so easily. I stand in the shower, clutching at clumps –  
like seaweed waving, sweeping  
along the ocean floor. 

I know the freedom of running my fingers 
over smooth, prickled scalp. It misses my mother’s 
Fingers gently rubbing my hair with 
hibiscus scented oil. Her weekly routine 
to ensure a mass of midnight blue curls 
has come to nothing.  

Now it’s just a rash of skin 
protected by a silk scarf. 

Susmita Bhattacharya’s debut novel, The Normal State of Mind (Parthian, 2015) was longlisted for the Word2Screen Prize at the Mumbai Film Festival, 2018.  Her short story collection, Table Manners (Dahlia Publishing, 2018) won the Saboteur Award for Best Short Story Collection (2019) and has been featured on BBC Radio 4. Her poems have won prizes and been nominated for Best of the Net by Janus Literary Journal.

Photo by Monstera on