taught me how to hide my curls
in a cloak of shame.
told me I should cry every time my eyes
landed on the details carved into my brown face.
constantly reminded me I wasn’t in close enough proximity.
collected bones from my own skeleton.
pickpocketed what you deemed perfect
from a plethora of peoples.
turned us into artifacts for your exhibit.
tried to silence me.
gave me labels when i spoke –
called me aggressive when i whispered.
but now i sing.
the fading melodies of my culture
are more than a beat to sample in your own song.
the kinky curls of my hair and the twisted strands of my braids
aren’t just accessories to try on.
each coil unravels into story, emits an emotion.
my features aren’t something to steal
– copy and paste into your own “curated” collection
until you delete them when they go out of style.
my body isn’t a passing trend,
it’s where my soul lives – where my heart beats.