Portrait of Bret Hairston
By Bret Hairston ’21

for the Black princess
caught in ivory
towers for the Black
pauper girl selling
small tender matches
for the Black baby
girl born anew
there’s no prince

no one arrives on
horseback prepared for
protection and care
to climb their hair so
long so short so
kinky so loose so
good for climbing the
lone tower that brings

no one comes for Black
rapunzel even though
her hair is better
for scaling great heights
because to be Black
is no fucking

but for the Black girl
hiding away in
solitude from the
world from the hungry
hands from greedy eyes
from consuming mouths
ready to eat
them alive

for the Black girls
i am too late to

know that i will burn
kingdoms and cities
ivory and stone
fast food joints and stores
down to the ground

i will burn it all
to the ground
in your name.

Portrait of Bret Hairston
Bret Hairston ’21 is an English major with a concentration in Africana studies. They explore the subjectivity of Black women in their prose and poetry.