Make Me Human or Give Me Death
This matters because i’ve lived on that side of life that you all have made for me partitioned the orphaned one i who carry the fire from your ashes, the chains of your people, and the residual sting from an incessant yellow rain This matters because i realize something you thought i would never even know! that i have a mouth and a throat! my body remembers the flesh, this flesh, my flesh is woke. This matters because my mouth will let me be myth, no more! i carry this fire and i carry it well and you will feel this heat when you come up next to me i will press you with this light until your sweat turns to boiling hot water to relieve me i will lick you, whip you with these flames until your body breaks like mine to free me and you will crawl and unlearn love and joy like i did and you will cry and call for your God like I did. because i am myth, no more! Feel me. and this flame which burned my grandfather’s house down and this light which shackled my grandmother’s body down and this heat which scorched my father’s spirit down will look onto you and take you like it took me too its white light Because it matters and this is how you will know me Because i matter and this is how you will fear me Because i can be silent, no more! to this white lie or give me death. 4/26/2016
From To Whitey & the Cracker Jack (Anhinga Press, 2017). Copyright © 2017 by May Yang. Reprinted by permission of Anhinga Press.
May Yang is a first-generation Hmong-American artist, writer, and ethnographer from California. Writing under the persona HAUNTIE, she is the author of To Whitey and the Cracker Jack (Anhinga Press, 2017), which was selected by Evie Shockley for the 2016 Robert Dana Prize in Poetry.
Date Published: 2017-11-01
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/make-me-human-or-give-me-death