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  • Writer's pictureThe Magnolia Literacy Project

LaWanda Dickens “A Flower in Her Hair”

Updated: May 24, 2022

This poem captures a middle-aged woman's evolving path to reclaiming her life, identity, and confidence while discovering the healing pleasure of peace and resistance to all things which threaten her autonomy.

An educator, writer, and former journalist, Dickens is a Brookhaven, Mississippi, native and graduate of Jackson State University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in English/Journalism and a Master of Arts in English. She also attended Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, where she studied Composition and Rhetoric. Her research interests include Hip Hop studies; service-learning in college composition courses; and students' transfer of classroom knowledge to campus and community leadership.

"A Flower in Her Hair"

A middle-aged woman reflects on a day in the life of a much younger version of herself …

Sitting across the table from her, on that special day, a milestone anniversary,

He looked into her pretty, brown eyes with disgust,

As if he felt embarrassed by her.

Why did you wear that flower?

It’s country as hell.

No one does that anymore.

Tears flowed from her hurt, weary soul,

Tinting her pretty eyes red on that special day,

A milestone anniversary.

She went to the restroom to collect herself,

Removing the white gardenia from her hair,

Burying it in her purse.

Touching up her mascara and eyeliner,

She contained herself, her emotions, and her autonomy.

Her facade in perfect misalignment

With the blissful, lavender-scented restroom,

Its pristine lounge,

Shiny white, marble walls,

French mirrors,

Bountiful, colorful bouquets of flowers

Atop crystal accent tables,

And the welcoming attendant.

Why did you take the flower out of your hair?

Flowed the sweet voice of the attendant.

I thought it was beautiful and matched your dress perfectly.

Masking her reality from the attendant,

She replied,

It was a little uncomfortable.

She gave the attendant a hefty tip,

And returned to her table to tolerate that special day,

A milestone anniversary.

The middle-aged woman, now a freer version of herself, shifts to the present …

In this moment, her crown is accentuated by a soft, pink rose,

Tucked fashionably into the front, left side of her afro puff.

She wears a flower in her hair often.

She has learned to never contain herself, her emotions, or her autonomy.

Every time she slides a flower’s prong clip base

Through her strands,

She is deliberate,


And defiant,

In annihilating an




Spirit –

That once diminished her.

Every time she wears a flower in her hair,

She kisses the younger version of herself.

Then, she kisses the current version of herself,

And remembers who the Hell she is!


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