My Hair and the King

I woke up early this morning expecting a hair client.

A gentle knock on the door, my soul.
'Hello? Come in my king.' 
I wanted to wash his feet in oils of old... 
but my hair...
My Hair! 
Knots too short
too modest in length and texture to be called strands 
broken and beaten from perms, color, stress, life as the ghetto defined it
the white woman's image on the pedestal just outside my grasp 
compelling me to reach to magazine racks 
for the image of my perfection
I could not. A master in my house and I could not.
My shame compelled me not to speak but to drop to my knees, 
to bow my head, and to mutter like a slave.
'I will not be able to wash your feet today.'
He sat between my knees, looking out upon the pictures of my children, placed on boxes of various shapes and sizes, decorated as only 3,4,5,6 
and 7 year-olds can express themselves.
...As I twisted his locks.
I said
'You don't look like any of your pictures.'

by Jessica Holter

This poem is about: 
My community
Our world


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