childhood curiosity dads girl-power poetry

Question Marks In Her Hair

A walk with Dad

photo by the author

And when she had spent the entire afternoon

painting her tiny nails,

The floor was left blotted;

A sweet smell of varnish

Hung in the air for a long time:

Dad took her out

And taught her

Not to pluck flowers

But to pick question marks —

The question marks she decided

To adorn her hair with,

Because she liked them;

They revealed mysteries to her

most of the world hadn’t known.

She wore those ‘whys’

Like a secret talisman

For it was known to upset the herd.

“Pretty little girls don’t ask so many questions…”, they would convince her.

“But why? Would growing up change things?”, she’d think.

“Good, gracious women needn’t use too many question marks…”, they would again be at her.

“But why? Do questions evoke fear?”, she’d think.

While on the walk,

She was counting the stars;

Dad had prodded her on —

“Dear, you’d need a gallon of dare”

She picked each question mark

And put them in her hair!


Question Marks In Her Hair was originally published in ILLUMINATION on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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