Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


American Sonnet for My Past and Future Assassin [Even the most kindhearted white woman]

Even the most kindhearted white woman,
Dragging herself through traffic with her nails
On the wheel & her head in a chamber of black
Modern American music may begin, almost
Carelessly, to breathe n-words. Yes, even the most
Bespectacled hallucination cruising the lanes
Of America may find her tongue curls inward,
Entangling her windpipe, her vents, toes & pedals
When she drives alone. Even the most made up
Layers of persona in a two- or four-door vehicle
Sealed in a fountain of bass & black boys
Chanting n-words may begin to chant inwardly
Softly before she can catch herself. Of course,
After that, what is inward, is absorbed.

Credit


Copyright © 2017 Terrance Hayes. Used with permission of the author. This poem originally appeared in Tin House, Fall 2017.

Author


Terrance Hayes

The 2010 winner of the National Book Award in poetry, Terrance Hayes is the author of five poetry collections. He currently serves on the Board of Chancellors of the Academy of American Poets.

Date Published: 2017-09-28

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/american-sonnet-my-past-and-future-assassin-even-most-kindhearted-white-woman