Previous: Ruth Awad reads "Once All the Hounds Had Been Called Home" by Meg Day
Next: Charlotte Abotsi reads "Attending the Party" by Hieu Minh Nguyen



View count:4,386
Last sync:2023-03-17 18:45
Clint Smith (he/him/his) reads his poem, “what the cicada said to the black boy.”

Clint Smith:

Brought to you by Complexly, The Poetry Foundation, and curators Charlotte Abotsi and Sarah Kay. Learn more:

11 issues of Poetry, subscribe today for $20:

Follow us elsewhere for the full Ours Poetica experience:

#poetry #ourspoetica #ClintSmith
My name is Clint Smith, and I'm a writer.

And I'm here to share a poem  with you I wrote entitled,  "what the cicada said to the black boy," which is part of my debut poetry collection that came out in 2016, Counting Descent. The thing about this poem is that  it's part of a series of poems  in which I'm taking non-human  or non-living objects and trying to imagine what they  would say if they were tasked  with giving advice or warning  or solace to Black children, much in the same way that so many Black parents do, teaching Black children how to navigate a world that is often taught to make  decisions about who they are  before they get the opportunity to make that decision for themselves. i’ve seen what they make of you how they render you a multiplicity of mistakes they have undone me as well pulled back my shell & feasted on my flesh claimed it was for their survival & they wonder why I only show my face every seventeen years but you you’re lucky if they let you live that long i could teach you some things you know have been playing this game since before you knew what breath was this here is prehistoric why you think we fly? why you think we roll in packs? you think these swarms are for the fun of it? i would tell you that you don’t roll deep enough but every time you swarm they shoot get you some wings son get you some wings