at the parades, everyone 
wants to touch my hair.

on the corner 
of st charles and marengo, 

i am cold & smashed & puffy AF 
when two white women 
try to convince me 
that they love my hair

no they really really do 
they say because it is so
black and thick and curly 
and soaking up all of the
water in the damp air. 

the mousy one says
through an alabama drawl:
gawd, you can do so much with it 

and her blonde friend says:
ya can’t do a damn thing with mine, 
won’t even hold a curl. 

she runs away to grab another friend 
and says to her: stacey, isn’t it even
prettier than macy gray’s? 
we just love her,
don’t we?

they circle me and ask:
can we touch your hair?

and then, suddenly,
just like my ancestors long ago,
i am pulled apart

soft

by pale hands 
from all directions.

—Skye Jackson

Rights & Access

From Rattle #71, Spring 2021. Copyright © 2021 by Skye Jackson. Reprinted by permission of the author.

  • Skye Jackson

    Skye Jackson was born and raised in New Orleans. She is currently an MFA candidate in poetry at the University of New Orleans Creative Writing Workshop, where she works with Bayou Magazine. Her work has appeared in the Delta Literary Journal and Thought Catalog. She is the author of the chapbook A Faster Grave (Antenna Press, 2019).