Ode to my Uni-brow

Marlin M. Jenkins

Perhaps it is not pronounced enough to easily notice,

at least from a distance, but praise be to the hairs

populating the Bering Straight, or more accurately

crossing the Mediterranean — bridge like cedar planks

with black nails, bridge like the boat

my jido came here in, bridge to Dearborn,

Michigan. The hairs stand up like spines, like each

is a monument over the bridge

of my nose. Since high school I used to keep the middle

trimmed, used clippers to separate such striving

for togetherness, in the name of neatness, I told myself,

though how so many of us have tried to pass, and true —

that is a form of survival but this now also

a form of thriving, of what refuses to be cut down

any longer, so praise be to the hairiness my Lebanese

family shares, praise be to owning what may keep

the TSA’s eyes on us, though god-willing not their hands

(and fuck the TSA, while we’re at it), and praise be

to pride and to the Muslim man at the gas station

who asks if I am Muslim, too, and though I am not, praise

to being seen as a brother (and to the beard

and back and knuckle hair, while we’re at it) —

an oak with so many of its leaves

refusing to enter another shaven autumn,

a cedar holding tight to all its needles.


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