Her hair


Her back faces me. Her afro leaps out in every direction like an uncontained blaze. And I am nothing but a moth drawn to my own destruction. Before I parish may I kiss your cheek my love? Can we do our dance? May I hold you? The answer is yes. I cherish this right now. For it won’t take me the rest of my youth to appreciate the magnitude of this blessing. Did you say your mother was from Georgia? Can I taste your peach? Can I lick your spine? Can I run my fingers through your hair from behind? No, well why not? You say that your father is a man of my hue maybe even a shade lighter. Your brother was your first friend and I remind you of him but I can’t run my fingers through your mane? Why am I not allowed to touch your crown yet you have given me your body from all angles? Your nipples point out like Hershey’s kisses but the room is not cold. The conflagration is beneath me. Your anxiety has burned away and I kiss thee.

I hold thee as if this were our bridal bed. I share with you precious quotes that my grandmother said unto me when I was a little boy. You kiss my neck softly and you crawl away beckoning me to follow. I catch up to you. I am she. She is me. She moans soft and sultry. I pull her hair. She becomes stiff. She crawls away but this time I never catch up. I apologize to her as she puts on her clothes. The fire has been contained but not before I perish. You are not a fetish to me. You are not exotic. You are the one that my grandmother wanted to meet before she passed away. You are the one I was raised to protect. You are the truth from whom I could never run. I can’t apologize for all of those boys but I can be your man.

My obsequiousness does not move you. The room is suddenly cold. Your eyes avert mine. I have violated you and for that I apologize. My punishment shall be to remain unseen by you forever. If this be my hell, then may the devil allow me to look straight into the fire every day and be reminded of your beautiful hair.

A Conversation Between a Black Girl and a White Girl at the University of California at Berkeley

WG- Hey, hey [waves frantically in the face of black girl who is speed walking across campus]. Don’t I have that literature course with you?


BG- Yeah Professor Nanda’s African-American literature course, how are you?


WG- I’m ok. Kind of swamped but I guess that’s normal right? Ha, ha, ha.


BG- [Fake smiles]


WG- So where ya headed?


BG- I’m heading home.


WG- Where do you stay? I never see you in the dorms.


BG- No I stay at home. I’m from Oakland.


WG-Oh my god girl shut up. I’m from Oakland too. I’ve lived in Montclair like my whole life. Where in Oakland are you from?


BG- I’m from the East.


WG- Oh ok. Where? I mean I hear that part of town is pretty big.


BG- I grew up on Parker. Kind of close to Eastmont Mall.


WG- Eastmont Mall ewe. Are you serious? You mean over there by Planned Parenthood?


BG- I don’t know what’s in the mall. I don’t hang out there [Irritated].


WG- Well yeah there’s like a Planned Parenthood inside off the mall [laughing].


BG- Really? How do you know that? [Stares into WG’s eyes].


WG- [Stops laughing. Turns red. Is ashamed].


BG- Sorry but I have to catch my bus. See you in class [continues speed walking to the bus stop].