My Afropuffs by Jamila Woods

by Leslie Anne Mcilroy


i got two moons / divided
by by a rat tail comb
orbiting my good ideas
eclipsing the forehead
daddy gave

they said bad hair means
you look like a slave

but slaves made afro picks
outta scrap metal / hair
oil out of animal fat

grandma used to get us
permed once a month
$60 dollars out her pocket
burning & forbidden to wash
itching & forbidden to scratch

what’s more slave than that?

my afropuffs, shinin
made of glass, broke off
at the edges, sharp enough
to cut your fingers, soft enough
to be an impromptu pillow

hot to the touch, always sweating
oil from some fruit or nut, conducting
electricity clockwise, 3D printing
my signature over & over again
in new cursive


Photo of Jamila Woods

Photo of Jamila Woods

Called “a modern-day Renaissance woman” by the Chicago Sun-Times, Jamila Woods is a poet, vocalist and organizer from Chicago, IL. Jamila was recently awarded a Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry fellowship from the Poetry Foundation. She is currently the Associate Artistic Director of Young Chicago Authors, a non-profit organization that hosts the world's largest youth poetry festival, Louder Than A Bomb.