why you cannot touch my hair by Eve L. Ewing

by Leslie Anne Mcilroy


my hair is my childhood friend who used to come over every day and became cool in high school and then began to do drugs and then ran away but now is back trying to get her life together and we have coffee together one Sunday morning before her shift at the grocery store

my hair was in a zoo. my hair escaped from the zoo and took out three officers of the law before they shot my hair up full of tranquilizers. tranquilizers only because my hair is too valuable to die

my hair is a speakeasy. it’s not that no one can get in-- it’s just that you don’t know the password

my hair did a lot of work and climbed many mountains literal and metaphorical to get here. my hair ran out of oxygen tanks a mile back and has been heaving for breath ever since but is determined to reach the summit. my hair endured a bonnet last night. that’s a lot of work

my hair is a technology from the future and will singe your fingertips, be careful

my hair doesn’t care about what you want
my hair has a brother. I washed and conditioned and moisturized and combed and braided my hair’s brother in the kitchen sink when my hair’s brother was depressed. my hair’s brother has a daughter. my hair’s brother’s daughter is tenderheaded and I sing while I comb her, holding her at the roots, touching her forehead so gently and telling her I love her while she cries


Photo of Eve L. Ewing in record store

Photo of Eve L. Ewing in record store

Eve L. Ewing is an essayist and poet whose work has been published in venues such as Poetry, The New Yorker, The New Republic, Union Station, the anthology The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop and many other outlets. Currently, she is an editor and staff writer for Seven Scribes. She is one-half of the poetry duo Echo Hotel, alongside Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib. She is also co-director of the community art enterprise Crescendo Literary, alongside Nate Marshall. Ewing is also an organizer of the Louder Than A Bomb Massachusetts youth poetry slam. She has been a nominee for the Pushcart Prize, a recipient of a scholarship from the New Harmony Writers Workshop, and a semi-finalist for the Pamet River Prize.