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Recorded for Poem-a-Day, January 12, 2018.
About this Poem 
“I wrote this poem after having had my whole huge afro abruptly buzzed off at a barbershop in my neighborhood. For twenty-eight years getting my hair done had always meant countless hours of hair-braiding, twisting, washing, parting, conditioning, and detangling under the hands of beloved family members or trusted beauticians. I feared I would lose that specific hand-to-scalp intimacy with the loss of my locks. But I gained (in some ways) an even more potent intimacy and understanding of my hair, my self, my gender, and my ability to flex, through this new bond with my barber, praised here in this poem for all time.”
—Angel Nafis
 

King of Kreations

Onliest man who lay hands on me. Pointer finger pad between my eyes.
Pinky knuckle cool on cheekbone. God of precision, blade at my throat,

for a half hour, you love me this way. Together we discover what I got
from my folks—widows peak, dandruff, hair growing fast in concentric O’s.
 
Claude, so damn beautiful, I can count on one hand the times I’ve looked
directly in your face, for fear I might never come back. You knower of me.
 
To get right I come to you. When I’m finna interview. When I’m finna banquet  
or party. When I must stunt, I come to you—
 
It is mostly you, but, not always. After all you gotta eat too.
So sometimes it’s Percival, face like stones, except when he’s smiling.
Sometimes it’s Junior who sings the whole time he lines up the crown.
 
No matter how soft my body	 or how many eyes find it and peel
               when I walk in the shop		 in the chair, I am of them. 
                              Not brother. Not sister. 		When he wields the razor and takes me 
                                             low it’s like when a woman gets close to the mirror to slide the lipstick 
                                                            on slow. Draws a line so perfect she cuts her own self from the clay. 

Copyright © 2018 by Angel Nafis. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on January 12, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2018 by Angel Nafis. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on January 12, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

Angel Nafis

Angel Nafis

Angel Nafis is the author of BlackGirl Mansion(Red Beard Press, 2012).