alternate names for black boys

By Danez Smith Danez Smith
1.   smoke above the burning bush
2.   archnemesis of summer night
3.   first son of soil
4.   coal awaiting spark & wind
5.   guilty until proven dead
6.   oil heavy starlight
7.   monster until proven ghost
8.   gone
9.   phoenix who forgets to un-ash
10. going, going, gone
11. gods of shovels & black veils
12. what once passed for kindling
13. fireworks at dawn
14. brilliant, shadow hued coral
15. (I thought to leave this blank
       but who am I to name us nothing?)
16. prayer who learned to bite & sprint
17. a mother’s joy & clutched breath

Source: Poetry (March 2014).

MORE FROM THIS ISSUE

This poem originally appeared in the March 2014 issue of Poetry magazine

March 2014
 Danez  Smith

Biography

Danez Smith is a Cave Canem Fellow from St. Paul, Minnesota. His full-length collection, ‘[insert] Boy, will be published in 2014 by YesYes Books.

Continue reading this biography

Poems by Danez Smith

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Social Commentaries, Race & Ethnicity

Poetic Terms Free Verse

Report a problem with this poem


Your results will be limited to content that appeared in Poetry magazine.

Search Every Issue of Poetry

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.