Apr/May 2012 Poetry

How to Oil an Indian Man's Hair

by Jessica Tyner

How to Oil an Indian Man's Hair

Your apartment smells like coconut oil
in the mornings. Watch the Vatika bottle
spin lazy circles in the microwave to be sure
it doesn't melt. You sit between my legs,
your dry naked feet crossed and me
perched like a fragile, cautious bird
on the buttery leather couch. Pull over the cheap
dark square table, fold a paper napkin twice,
pour the milky warm oil into my palm,
place the bottle on the napkin.
I wear nothing but your boxer shorts,
your low tsk tsk as the oil slips
through my thin fingers, burrows between bones,
falls onto pallid thighs white as flashes
against your skin. Begin at your scalp,
rub it in.
Add more oil, finger comb your long black hair,
curling, waking snakes unwinding down your back.
Take off your glasses, thumb your temples. I'm greased
as a dirty dog to my elbows. Stop, wait,
for your giant perfect hands
(puppy hands, my janu)
to swallow mine easily as a cobra. You
smelled like coconuts

cracked open
letting all the sweetness out.


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