—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- negro
he’s a half- breed
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.