the hairdresser combs through my hair with long fingers,
diagnosing hair as dry as uncooked, squid ink pasta. so, what would you like me to do today?
at my suggestion, the doctor blocks my reflection in the mirror
and tugs at her hair, smooth like arctic waters–
your hair is different than mine.
she mutters in a language i don’t understand, and says: my hair is good for bobs, straight. your hair too curly. not good.
curly, wavy hair mimics water ripples and
brings breath to a still ocean
that the world covets with prayer because
stillness is peace, calm, manageable–
but fuck that bullshit.
peace is also life, life is breath–
with curly, wavy ripples crowning our heads
we are the ocean’s messengers
bringing the world breath.
she stripped all the hair from her body
until her skin thinned and wrinkled like that
of a naked mole rat, smoothing over her curves
like the coating of jelly beans. as she snuggled next to
her partner, who then caressed her bare skin,
she wondered if she could ever embrace this newfound nakedness.
her lips dry like peach slices
as sunlight deepens the complexity
of her skin. she strides in
crowded meat markets and in between
street vendors while laughing with
a belly as sound as the atlantic and
the earth awakens from its
media-drugged slumber because
its gravity can’t hold her down.
she caresses the imprints of
change on her body that no one knew
how to love, and her calloused hands
devoted themselves to loving her;
after fucking popular beauty
she was still happy not being one.
you’re a fast learner–you’re only 5
and you know that beauty
is the best compliment you can give. you’ve
learned that white women should be the
subject of your desire because they are–
princess elsa is stamped on your pink
light-up tennis shoes and her pale, delicate,
features adorn your fluffy purple blanket
that warms you while you sleep.
aleigha, how can i prepare you
for a racially charged world? where
you’ll fight battles for your dark curly hair
and deep skin? how do you prepare to win a war
fuck off costuming black beauty–
you wear deep skins throbbing with histories
and cultures only to play dress up for a day,
materializing black skin into a trend. instead of
modeling under black and neon lights, let a
black woman be their own skin. she epitomizes
her own beauty more than you