house of beauty

just three houses down 
from my 
pale green house
a magnificent dark red house
on a throne of both beauty &
on a street that never quite
fit in
with the rest of the city

it was a dead end, 
in a time & place undefined by class 
middle, less than that,
all otherwise, the same
—more or less

except #44

it was the only house on the street
with a fence around the front

how rich they must be, I thought
to be able to have a fence
in the front

a small white sign with
black writing hung & 
swung from a black post
behind that fence
with scrolled letters

Willie Mae’s
House of Beauty

my mother would send me
if I was lucky, with 2 quarters
to buy us each a candy bar
that Willie Mae
would stock on a small shelf
in her makeshift waiting room
in her basement

I would look at myself in her big
mirror that sat in front of her 2
that spun around

soaking in the smells of hair products, so different than my
own & listen to the women
talk about their lives
that somehow existed
the House of Beauty

their hair so curly & beautiful
made my own
brown, flat hair feel lifeless

she would explain to me why
she could not make mine, look
like theirs,
but still,
every time I walked down her
quarters in hand
I dreamed that she could make
my hair kinky & shiny
while I talked & twirled 

in the House of Beauty
anything was possible

or so I wanted to believe.

Auteur : aboulabasstranslations

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