iced out chain from the beauty supply by Halsted Indoor Mall
this one spins,
they all glitter
like a crush’s toothy smile.
beauty supply of Black power peace sign afro picks
& a crayola big box of durags to choose from.
beauty supply shelves with sleeves
of weaves glimmering in the harsh light.
every manner of oil & grease
& spritz & spray for the coaxing
of curl under comb
who can think of a rat tail without a tear
for the nostalgia or the tenderheaded memory?
a rubber band of any conceivable size.
a barette of two balls clacking hard with every neck roll.
all the ribbons & bows.
the eyebrow lady wielding two ends
of a thread like the sculptor’s most precious tool.
all the tools for the trade of looking
& you, little boy, get such a precious few.
Copyright © 2021 by Nate Marshall. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on January 29, 2021, by the Academy of American Poets.
“When I was young, I always loved the sort of warm fullness of a beauty supply store. Now that I'm grown and bald and order the beauty products I need mostly off the internet, I don't have much occasion to find myself in a Black beauty supply, but this poem is my chance to visit once more. ”