Doing My Roommate’s Hair by Kiki Nicole

by Sammy Slabbinck
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Doing My Roommate’s Hair

in my head, it’s a lot easier.
I imagine my fingers fitting in their hair perfectly.
in reality,
my fingers fit so well around their hair
until they don’t anymore.
every curl is much smoother than my own head
but they still trust me.
they sit in between my legs and it’s almost like Sunday afternoon again.
the heat from the both of us
almost golden.
like Sunday afternoon on the porch steps.
Sunday afternoon, our living room smells like leave­-in conditioner,
Jamaican black castor oil,
and whipped shea.
everything hazy.
in the movie of us, they wouldn’t write this scene.
we be too golden. we be too Black to be soft.
my roommate nestles in the heart of me.
here, they can be small. they Black Girl again,
pink scalped and loose curled.
my hands recognize this beauty but don’t know what to do with it.
my brown hands and thick hair
unaccustomed to soft things.
I am used to raw shea­­–
the thick, yellow clumps hold me together so well.
I pledge allegiance to myself
even though I am all edges.
and the sky is a soft pink and it tells us to keep breathing
even though we are so far removed from the stoops of our childhoods.
in this neighborhood, there are no black women doing hair on their porches
on any given day
but this sun tells us not to worry about missing them.
my hands are so full of it all.
I know exactly what to do.
in the movie of us, we are safe here
and everything calls us Beautiful.

Kiki Nicole

Kiki Nicole is a writer currently living in Portland, Oregon. Their work has been featured in Bitchtopia Magazine, Voicemail Poems, Drunk in a Midnight Choir, The Fem Lit and several anthologies. They work in publishing for Where Are You Press and keep a blog at They would like you to know that they are trying.