Kimilee Norman-Goins


I knew she could braid faster:
When we had the hound,
its hair gone wiry with the rain,
I’d rake at the mats around his ears.
So patient he was to embrace this from a child.
Ma would sit cross-legged behind me,
part my own locks, her finger like a canoe
in a river turned black with nightfall.
The three of us leaning to and fro
with the surrender of each tangle.
I’d go slow as to not hurt him,
yet we’d finish at the same time,
and Ma’d rub the oils from my scalp
into her palms instead of washing.

Kimilee Norman-Goins writes humbly from New York, NY, supported by her two rescue dogs and (non-rescue) wife. She is still trying to decide which non-dairy milk is superior: almond, oat, or coconut. Her work can be found in New York Quarterly, The Florida Review, The Showbear Family Circus, Passengers Journal, The Bangalore Review, For Women Who Roar, and hung up on her mother’s fridge.