Awkwafina Clarifies That She’s Appreciating, Not Appropriating (in Black American Sentences)

we should all be so lucky to be this well-loved. we’ll live forever
tendered underneath the warmth of her sun. she is rebuilding our house

in a better glory. replacing the sour with sweet, something to cling 
to teeth. defanged marionette, flattened clown, a lump of clay waiting 
to be molded by more deserving hands. it’s not her fault. growing up,

there wasn’t anybody on tv who looked like her—she had to
go hunting for scraps. it’s appreciation. not that we would know that.

us, so busy with our hands out, mouths unclean. a criticality
without warning, burning to be the victim. some beastly thing, never
sated. this is why we can’t build together. I have to stop crafting

malice where there is none. it only hurts if I let it. her presence
is a gift, something to drink deep. by now, I should know I have to give

a lot to get a little. isn’t that the blessing? to be wanted?
she promises our turn is coming, that patience is a virtue for 
a reason. she reminds us that she is a merciful gilded god.

she’ll use the harmony of our bones to make every beautiful sound.
besides, it’s not like we were gonna do anything with them anyways.

Copyright © 2023 by Simone Person. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on July 11, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.