Petting Zoo: Why Not to Touch a Black Woman’s Hair

baa, baa, Black Girl
may I touch your wool?
full of kinky curls
like cotton candy mattresses
brown stalks of broccoli
growing upward
like a forest
Christmas trees that nap in the breeze.
Hark! the shea butter angels sing
glory to the White Girls’
stinging obsession with pulling my
strings, tugging and clinging,
hanging onto my springs
screeching
“Wow it goes up and down
your hair is so fluffy
it’s like an urban basket full of
bunnies Wow it’s so
puffy
it’s really
lumpy
it’s kinda
bumpy
Ew.”
It’s apocalyptic if their fingers get caught.
For fear of another Titanic,
you’re afraid you’ll lose yourself
in my Blackness,
a labyrinth of nappy proportions.
The hair on our heads is as dead as yours.
It’s not anything new,
we didn’t grow it for you,
and if you can’t ask, you can’t touch
the petting zoo is closed.

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