My hair is never just my hair.

It’s always a statement,

One which, apparently, I’m not entitled to make.

If I rock my natural kinky curls,

I’m unprofessional.

If I weave another’s hair into my own,

I’m fake.

If I permanently straighten it with chemicals,

I’m trying to be something I’m not.


Everyone’s got an opinion.


People pleaded with my mother:

“Nancy, please don’t perm that beautiful girl’s hair.”

“Nancy, she’s going to high school; it’s time.”

My hair was always the topic of conversation,

But I was never part of the discussion.


My hair may be attached to my head,

But it’s not a part of me.

It’s some thing that hangs in my eyes,

That everyone feels entitled to touch.

But I let it define me.


I hated being restricted to braids

When everyone else’s hair flowed and changed.

I hated the idea of a weave

Because I wanted my hair to be my own.

After I finally relaxed my hair into long, straight strands,

I never wanted to let go.

It was the source of all my confidence;

The measure of its length was the measure of my worth.


And then I cut it.

Again, the decision wasn’t my own.

But it’s one I love.


It has taught me to love myself for myself.

I am






But I am not my hair.


In Miami

By Sabine Joseph

In Miami,

Music courses through the streets like blood runs through veins.

It flows through its people, fueling them to create

Art that decorates every wall and amazes every passerby.

My own eyes can barely believe what they see before me.

I stand in the midst of such a beautiful city and thank God for what He created.

The Greatest Story I’ve Never Read

By Sabine Joseph


For so long I’ve claimed

That it’s where I was born and raised,

But only recently did I realize

That’s a lie.


Well, not a lie really,

A half truth.

I was born there,

But raised almost everywhere else.

Some cities had “Miami” in the name,

Others didn’t,

But none could truly be called



Yet, somehow I still feel that

Miami is home.

No matter where I go,

I will never have left.

I have yet to see the world,

Yet I’m sure there’s nowhere else like it.


Miami is like my favorite book

That I’ve never opened.

Written in its history and people is

A beautiful story

That I’ve never fully experienced.

It was a birthday gift from years ago,

But to this day I’ve only read the jacket.


From the cover alone,

I’ve fallen in love with the novel.

I long to crack it open

And lose myself in its pages.

Hanging Fire

After going through an impossibly long list of poems trying to find one to present to my class, I instantly connected with this one, so I thought I’d share it.

Hanging Fire

I am fourteen

and my skin has betrayed me

the boy I cannot live without

still sucks his thumb

in secret

how come my knees are

always so ashy

what if I die

before morning

and momma’s in the bedroom

with the door closed.

I have to learn how to dance

in time for the next party

my room is too small for me

suppose I die before graduation

they will sing sad melodies

but finally

tell the truth about me

There is nothing I want to do

and too much

that has to be done

and momma’s in the bedroom

with the door closed.

Nobody even stops to think

about my side of it

I should have been on Math Team

my marks were better than his

why do I have to be

the one

wearing braces

I have nothing to wear tomorrow

will I live long enough

to grow up

and momma’s in the bedroom

with the door closed.