The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Salt Body Shimmer by Aricka Foreman

This selection, chosen by Managing Editor Krista Cox, is from Salt Body Shimmer by Aricka Foreman, released by YesYes Books in 2019.


Equipped from the siege it takes detangling
a tender-headed child’s hair, mema arms herself

Thick-toothed comb parting fields of naps
Bushels of soft kink pulled through

rubber bands, roots grown into stalks, brown-
bound by metallic threaded black,

the click of two bright-marbled orbs Each
Saturday night we’d do this dance when

she had no room for my mother’s and my libretto:
our fussing, the rafter pitch of my wail

Just right of her reach, a thin yellow promise
to pop my balled-up fists should I think

of breaking loose A thunderhead after washing,
drops of conditioner-thick water plump tufts

of crowded strands She pulled the plaits tight,
slathered my raw scalp with Blue Magic

Phyllis sings When I Give My Love (This Time)
I’m gonna make it last forever And perhaps

this too is how I’m wrought, the steel of being
beautiful: tears for what hands can do: wrangled

wild rind corkscrewed from the fruit, making
my grandfather’s line repent but O those wayward

vines of riverine: the devil is a lie: in the name
of hot-combs, hair picks, bobby pins and satin scarves

I wonder if my mother saw herself in the schoolyard
as I smoothed down the feral edges of my hair watching

some brilliant black boy backflip across the grass.
In the morning mirror, gel on the bristles of a slender

brush, I scooped the baby hairs along my temple
into shells We drove down 7 Mile singing

Anita Baker, too early for all that heartbreak
I must have refused her kiss at least once at drop-

off At least once she must’ve squinted with worry
at my newfound love for adornment Her knuckles

white as she pulled away I don’t remember looking back

Aricka Foreman is a poet, editor and educator from Detroit. Author of Dream with a Glass Chamber and Salt Body Shimmer (YesYes Books 2019), she has received fellowships from Cave Canem, Callaloo, and the Millay Colony for the Arts. Her poems, essays and features have appeared in The Offing, Buzzfeed, Vinyl, RHINO, The Blueshift Journal, Day One, shuf Poetry, James Franco Review, THRUSH, Please Excuse This Poem: 100 New Poems for the Next Generation (Viking Penguin), among others. She lives in Chicago.

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