IN THAT PLACE SHE GROWS A GARDEN // Del Sandeen
Rayven has spent years growing and caring for her dreadlocks. When an abhorrent school policy forces her to sacrifice them, they are replaced by something even more magical.
MY SNAKES // Frieda Vaughn
One’s relationship with their hair can be very complicated. When your hair holds the weight of history, that relationship is even more complicated.
NO LATE-FOR-SCHOOL // Shari Paul
Delilah’s a style-forward blogger with an eye for amazing costumes and the skills to make them. When her post-big-chop beau hooks her up with a strange new client, Delilah will be lucky to escape with only her feathers ruffled.
WHILE DRAGONS CLAIM THE SKY // Jen Brown
Omani, a coif mage who can weave magics into hair, dreams of leaving her family’s shop behind and becoming an imperial mage. When Myra, a poor but talented knightess-to-be, stumbles into Omani’s shop, both of their lives will be irrevocably changed.
UMAKE: THE GOD OF HAIR // Tim Fab-Eme
BURY ME WITH MY BONNET // A. Z. Louise
UNBRAIDED, CLEAN // Terese Mason Pierre
A solid issue. Poetry isn’t my thing, but I really enjoyed the poems in this issue; “Umake: God of Hair” was inventive, “Bury Me With My Bonnet” had imagery I found oddly soothing considering the subject matter, and “Unbraided, Clean” was mournful and sweet.
“No Late-for-School” was a horror story where the main villains weren’t terrifyingly malevolent as much as they were trifling, cowardly, and opportunistic – which made them uniquely frustrating and dangerous. I really liked the braiding magic system in “When Dragons Claim the Sky.” I hadn’t seen anything like it before, and I hadn’t considered the ways hair could be threatening. I would love to see more adventures in this world. “In That Place She Grows a Garden” and “My Snakes” use magic and surrealism to push back on the ways Black hair is regulated and degraded.