“nappy head, nappy head, I catch your ass, you gone be dead”
Girl you pretty
You so pretty with all that nappy hair
Stand up everywhere
Girl you pretty
No picaninny atal
I needed my hair done.
That was certain.
Nothing else could happen until that happened.
So it must have been a Wednesday.
I remember because the rent was due. I didn’t have a stamp.
My rent was gonna be late because I wasn’t going anywhere,
not even to the corner store to buy a stamp,
until I got something done,
So it was a Wednesday, around the first of the month.
(I mark time by the mailman and the moon but anyway)
My hair wasn’t done.
It was messed up. Long-term weaves will do that shit to you.
Take all your hair out around the edges. All gone.
And so nappy, I tell you, I wouldn’t dare put a pick to it.
So I was gonna have Peachy come over and cut all this mess, I call hair, off my head,
so I could slap on a wig.
I saw peachy through the window coming.
She was switching and twitching up the walk
with her little hands drawn up in front of her like a poodle on two feet.
She looked like a damn circus clown I tell you.
And pink lipstick. Whoever heard of pink lipstick anymore? Leopard print too?
That was just too much.
I may be old and ugly but that was just too much.
Get yo pale painted ass up these steps.
High yellow heifer.
I turned to show her my proud backside.
I was going back in the house.
I stepped through the door. She so slow.
She makes me sick with all those crazy colors.
You need some dick Miss Nally, she told me.
I didn’t know what she was talking about because I get a sufficient amount of that.
But I wasn’t discussing my personal business with her.
I let her think how she wants to think.
When I say I’m old and ugly,
that’s only compared with what I used to look like.
I look better than her at 100 and I’m barely 50.
She still coming. She so slow.
Then there was this
in my left ear and behind me a bit.
Interrupted her yipping.
There was another deep
And since mine is the last house on the block-
they was shooting around the corner -I knew-
I turned with the next
Peachy’s tacky skirt
was up around her waist,
her purple panties all out and she
on the ground.
Blood poured out past all that fake blond hair like a halo.
When peachy woke up in the hospital missing a piece of an ear, I was there. She fluttered those impossible lashes and opened her eyes.
You in the hospital, I told her.
I don’t know why you got on that ugly ass wig in the hospital.
Ain’t nobody coming to see you but me.
Nally I can’t help it if my daddy’s white, she said and pursed those bright lips, you’ve always been jealous of my hair.
She so stuck up. I don’t know why.
Yo black ass is just yellow, I said
You always wanna call up the good hair ancestors. What about all those nappy nigga knots on yo mama’s side?
Forget you Nally. Who shot me?
The same people who shot that other boy around the corner, I told her.
He was laying on the sidewalk with his head looking like a turned out bowl of chili.
I thought you was gone too.
I looked at my friend. And I almost felt sorry for the old whore.
Then I felt the rag on my head and all the coarse hair underneath.
Damn it Peachy, I said.
If you’d a got your yellow ass up those steps and done my hair like you promised,
you wouldn’t a got shot.