I Will Braid My Sorrow

Mi hija, let me braid your hair.
Let the pain and hurt stay between your fine curls
rather than spread to the rest of your body.
Be careful with sadness.
Don’t let it get in your eyes
for it will come pouring out from the seams.
Don’t let it slide between your lips
for it will make you say things that aren’t true.
Don’t let it get to your hands
for you will burn the coffee,
undercook the dough.

Sadness likes bitterness.

When you’re sad, mi niña,
braid your hair.
Lock the pain in your locks,
let it escape with the strong Northern winds.

Our hair is a net,
it traps it all.
It is as strong as the ahuehuete1 roots,
as soft as the foam of the atole.2
Don’t let melancholy
catch you by surprise,
mi hija.
Whether it be a broken heart
or cold bones
due to an absence,
don’t let it get to your flowing hair.
It will cascade through you.
Tomorrow when you wake
with the sparrows’ sweet calls
you will find it
among the loom of your hair.

1 a type of cypress
a hot corn starch beverage

“This is a translation of “Trenzaré Mi Tristeza” by Paola Klug, originally in Spanish, published by the author in 2014. Original text and other works can be found and read here.”

Translated by Maria Mann.

Maria is an Auburn University alum and an Emerson College student pursuing a master’s degree in writing and publishing. She lives in Boston with her 3-lb chihuahua, Cleo, her beta fish, Indigo, and an assortment of plants. When she’s not cooking, she’s eating or reading. Follow her on Instagram at @mmm_malena.

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