Zoic: au naturel


(Photo: Charlotte Edey)

Maya Lewis

my hair is natural:

my coffee-colored curls, 

my crown, my pride and joy.

in history, our curls weren’t acceptable.

they were straightened, 


burned off, to be



in the present day, 

more comfortable in our own skin

and in our hair,

women walk the streets, 

proud of who they are.

i embrace my crown, 

to set an example.

my hair is more than acceptable

in the professional world.


naturally, i am curious

curiosity has brought us religion, 

science, math, technology,

our legacies as human beings.

i seek out challenges 

to provoke my mind,

as an intellectual.


like a hiker, 

searching for a virginal path,

desiring naturally, to delve deep

into areas of interest. 

curious minds brought us

the power of information 

knowledge of the world’s happenings,

by barely lifting a finger to a device.

curiosity has made 

the acquisition of knowledge

a natural reflex.


when i write, the words flow naturally 

from my pen. 

not unlike the inspirational woman 

whose name i share:

maya angelou, the voice of the people,

my poetry sprouts without water. 

how better to motivate others

than by the stimulation

of their left brain?


art causes the most logical of us

to let go

if only for a minute.

a scholar, i allow my art to be 

a natural means of inspiration. 

having taken a moment to strum on my guitar, 

i am fueled creatively

for hours of work. 

when i perform on my saxophone,

my stage presence is natural. 

i thrive through improvisation, 

i let the notes come to me naturally 

letting the saxophone play me.

as charlie parker once said.


a natural sense of stability:

invaluable as a student.

balancing a platter 

overflowing with activities, 

smelling strongly 

of challenging courses 


with obligations,


so that everything

doesn’t come toppling down.


placid naturally 

in the midst of chaos,

i keep my head high,

and my mind sharp. 

after the blows came like waves,

assault, verbal and physical.

screaming, tears, divorce.

to soothe my family’s stress,

i’m a shoulder to rest upon.

for my mother and brother. 

as my family role changes,

and as it grows,

i adjust seamlessly, 




unapologetically and naturally,

i am maya.

i am the poet 

with a wild mane of curly hair.

i balance schoolwork 

with brass band performances 

and tennis matches. 

the student, the sister, the daughter.

this is who i am, and

i serve myself to you,

au naturel.


-maya lynn