why you cannot touch my hair

By Eve L. Ewing

my hair is my childhood friend who used to come over every day and became cool in high school and then began to do drugs and then ran away but now is back trying to get her life together and we have coffee together one Sunday morning before her shift at the grocery store

my hair was in a zoo. my hair escaped from the zoo and took out three officers of the law before they shot my hair up full of tranquilizers. tranquilizers only because my hair is too valuable to die

my hair is a speakeasy. it’s not that no one can get in—it’s just that you don’t know the password

my hair did a lot of work and climbed many mountains, literal and metaphorical, to get here. my hair ran out of oxygen tanks a mile back and has been heaving for breath ever since but is determined to reach the summit. my hair endured a bonnet last night. that’s a lot of work

my hair is a technology from the future and will singe your fingertips, be careful

my hair doesn’t care about what you want

my hair has a brother. I washed and conditioned and moisturized and combed and braided my hair’s brother in the kitchen sink when my hair’s brother was depressed. my hair’s brother has a daughter. my hair’s brother’s daughter is tenderheaded and I sing while I comb her, holding her at the roots, touching her forehead so gently and telling her I love her while she cries


"why you cannot touch my hair” by Eve L. Ewing, from Electric Arches (Haymarket Books, 2017).