Don’t Touch My Hair

Today a sister stared at me and smiled
then asked me if my curls were
natural, or a perm?
(natural, but no sister of mine)
Can I touch your hair? It looks
so fun, to play with

No
don’t
touch
my
hair

I am not an animal that has
escaped from the zoo
I am not something to be
awed at
So exotic, so different,
So erotic

So
don’t
fucking
touch
my
hair

All I hear is colonialism pouring
out of your mouth
and Sarah Baartman is rolling
over in her grave, knowing
my agony over being seen as a caged animal
a herstory we share

My
hair
reminds
us
of
her

Thick, dark, like the skin
of my Taino ancestors,
this is how they live
through me, so no
you can’t
touch my hair

image

Illustration by the lovely Laura Wilson

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