Wise Poets – Skye Jackson – Can We Touch Your Hair?

Skye Jackson

at the parades, everyone 
wants to touch my hair.

on the corner 
of st charles and marengo, 

i am cold & smashed & puffy AF 
when two white women 
try to convince me 
that they love my hair

no they really really do 
they say because it is so
black and thick and curly 
and soaking up all of the
water in the damp air. 

the mousy one says
through an alabama drawl:
gawd, you can do so much with it 

and her blonde friend says:
ya can’t do a damn thing with mine,
won’t even hold a curl.

she runs away to grab another friend 
and says to her: stacey, isn’t it even
prettier than macy gray’s?
we just love her,
don’t we?

they circle me and ask:
can we touch your hair?

and then, suddenly,
just like my ancestors long ago,
i am pulled apart


by pale hands 
from all directions.