—after Aaron Samuels

a miscegenated guide to pronouns

THIRD PERSON:

he’s just that
        light skin-ded boy

he’s gotta have
        a white parent

                                                    or

he’s technically
        a mulatto

he’s a half-
        negro

he’s a half-
        breed

he just must be
        so confused

SECOND PERSON:

you got a white mama
        or daddy?

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

                                                    or

you’re catholic?
        since when?

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

so can you say something
        in spanish?

FIRST PERSON:

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.