The Anthology 


four kwansabas

By Danez Smith

danez, stop acting shook when black folk
are alive, quit the dream of early
kill & sooner dirt, it’s no dream.
free them boys caged in those sonnets
you are not warden, not reaper, not
the fates, not their damn mama. alive
is a thing we can be too. look.


you are not dead & popeye’s is
out of spicy. in heaven, they’d never.
in heaven, even they biscuits be moist.
but heaven’s ain’t yours yet, them biscuits
dry as fuck, so God gave you
honey & tea & kisses & lovers
who spit in your mouth when asked.


the body is the body & inside
there’s a person, imagine that? imagine black
devoid of death, imagine us endless until.
if they kill you, they kill you.
until then they can’t touch you, boo.
we all die, even god. don’t run
from death. let it chase you. play.


three girls playing church with a stump
for a pulpit, reason enough for today.
you amen passing by, auntie trapped in
your deacon body. don’t mean  to look
like danger, but you were born boy’d.
but you don’t smell like run, amen
gifted right back. heaven enough for now.