Momma pulls out a can of kidee perm
pins my two-year-old sis down between her knees
and smears her head, complaining, strand after strand;
I join Angela-Davis murmuring we don’t need none;
she says fine people have straight hair, smooth
as a mirror, not the thorns and thistles
we wear on our heads like hooded vultures,
points tiny white girls on a pop-up book
says we should be like them, beautiful, relaxed.
I told her that sodium hydroxide picks big
hoes and digs small graves on our scalps,
cut our follicles into tombstones, and writes epitaphs
on our lungs when we breathe it in;
she didn’t believe me, she says God’s white
and anything in his color has no sorrow.
And when am old enough to disown God
I’ll tell you why I wear no wigs
or weaves from a poor Indian in Tirupathi;
I was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, 1786;
my mom’s Governor Miro’s concubine; we live in
Port Harcourt this 1st day of June, 9099.