cicada

what the cicada said to the brown boy

by Clint Smith

Clint Smith
Clint Smith
Clint Smith is a teacher, writer, and doctoral candidate at Harvard University. He is a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow and was named the 2013 Christine D. Sarbanes Teacher of the Year by the Maryland Humanities Council. As a poet and essayist, he is a 2014 National Poetry Slam champion, an Individual World Poetry Slam finalist, and his work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Guardian, and The American Literary Review. His two TED Talks, The Danger of Silence and How to Raise a Black Son in America, collectively have been viewed more than 4 million times. His first full-length collection of poems, Counting Descent, is forthcoming from Write Bloody in fall of 2016.
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
Originally posted in Off the Coast Literary Journal
About the Authors:
Clint Smith
Published by Clint Smith
Clint Smith is a teacher, writer, and doctoral candidate at Harvard University. He is a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow and was named the 2013 Christine D. Sarbanes Teacher of the Year by the Maryland Humanities Council. As a poet and essayist, he is a 2014 National Poetry Slam champion, an Individual World Poetry Slam finalist, and his work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Guardian, and The American Literary Review. His two TED Talks, The Danger of Silence and How to Raise a Black Son in America, collectively have been viewed more than 4 million times. His first full-length collection of poems, Counting Descent, is forthcoming from Write Bloody in fall of 2016. View all posts by Clint Smith

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