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).

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

March 2014
 Danez  Smith

Biography

Danez Smith was born St. Paul, Minnesota. He is the author of [insert] Boy (YesYes Books, 2014) and the chapbook hands on ya knees (Penmanship Books, 2013). Smith is the recipient of fellowships from the McKnight Foundation, Cave Canem, Voices of Our Nation (VONA) and elsewhere. He is a founding member of the multigenre, multicultural Dark Noise Collective. His writing has appeared in Poetry, Ploughshares, Beloit Poetry Journal, . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Social Commentaries, Race & Ethnicity

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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