Danez Smith



your narrative & my narrative go back behind the house

& just have it out for once. one lunges with a shiv, the


lunged at pulls it into place. they know the choreography

of their tiny marriage, their good time war. i understand


the shape of it: we don’t read the same articles, don’t

consider the same things knowledge, don’t believe in


the same god in the same way. i get it. we know little

similar, sure, how good it is to finally pee, the smell


of a fresh cut lemon, the feeling of making it home

alive. now, if i am trying to avoid you to stay alive


& you are trying to avoid me to stay alive, is that not

the definition of something? all this blood & still no truce.


my american twin, weve done this for years

you run around scared of the idea of me, i run away


from your actual body with your actual instruments

of my end: badge, bullet, post, gas, rope, opinions.


you have murdered me for centuries & still i fix

my mouth to say love is possible. it is. it is? if you


came to my door thirsty, i’d turn the faucet & fill

the glass. if i come to you, don’t shoot.




Danez Smith is the author of Don’t Call Us Dead (Graywolf Press, 2017) and [insert] boy (YesYes Books, 2014), winner of the Lambda Literary Award and the Kate Tufts Discovery Award. Danez is a 2017 NEA Literature Fellow and a member of the Dark Noise Collective. Danez lives in St. Paul, MN.