Hair rollers set under what oven doors pack,
strands of coiled bounty bound to heat.
Real gold won’t flatten till 2000 degrees so
Make it hot. Real hot girl shit hot girl
summer. I’ve drawn in my peacock feathers,
razing with each step on the block. My
mumu wafting in the wind glitters catching skin
light like the sun’s wink. Every she
cross legged in the salon, glass
window is front & length is ceiling to floor
for the jaw drop of their sweat. I pass the salon
to say whatup to Papi at the bodega & part
my $1.00 snapple from its encased
brethren. Papi knows me & my cotton,
my mane half-done, half plaited down ears
of corn, half stood
as unhacked weeds at attention.
My cousin whole
yellin’ not to go out there
with my hair like that. My mans doddles his mountain
bike close to the kind of nature that is paved
over. This being how I learned love: concrete
my knees in gravel beds, taking road
into the home, my skin unpeelin’ to its white meat
like a potato. & still timed every store-run for the unspiral
of roller sets. Curls a buoyant
wave of shimmer catching every metal
surface jealous of this kind of gleam, glamour
unbound to gravity.

A writer born and raised in Queens, Nabila Lovelace’s debut book of poems, Sons of Achilles, is out now through YesYes Books.

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