Ashley M. Jones

after Amiri Baraka

ooh la la
ooh la la
Blue Magic slathered on scalps
twists and braids and
oh how mama
makes us shine
oh how we clack
the hallways
in our braids
and beads
oh how
we love the way our pigtails swing–


then we see

those girls whose hair hangs,

let us be like them
wow, how
they are
wow oh wow how

they smell like mamas

and we are still burping up milk
oh mama
let us let our hair be grown,

let us be like them–

oh wow

what bright hot pain
this perm,

its everlasting promise
to kill
that curl
that chokes us
to make us pretty
make us pretty
we are pretty when it makes us
but what did God make us?

Last updated September 27, 2022