—after Aaron Samuels

a miscegenated guide to pronouns


he’s just that
        light skin-ded boy

he’s gotta have
        a white parent


he’s technically
        a mulatto

he’s a half-

he’s a half-

he just must be
        so confused


you got a white mama
        or daddy?

wait, so you’re, like,
        really black?


you’re catholic?
        since when?

so, you eat, like,
        tacos and stuff, right?

so can you say something
        in spanish?


i am not translator

i am not mexican

i am coquí croaks
        synchronized to
                caribbean waves

i am not white

i am not “mulatto”

i am dark fist
        balled up—thrust
                in air

i am not half-breed

i am not confused

i am afro-american-boricua

not capitalized because
        no one claims my existence,

marked with just a few
        too many hyphens

Malcolm Friend is a poet originally from the Rainier Beach neighborhood of Seattle, WA. He received a B.A. from Vanderbilt University and is currently pursuing an MFA at the University of Pittsburgh.