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In Translation

By Elizabeth Acevedo

My mouth cannot write you a white flag.
It will never be a Bible verse.
My mouth cannot be shaped into the apology
you say both you and God deserve.

And you want to make it seem
it’s my mouth’s entire fault.
Because it was hungry,
and silent, but what about your mouth:

how your lips are staples
that pierce me quick and hard.

And the words I never say
are better left on my tongue
since they would only have slammed
against the closed door of your back.

Your silence furnishes a dark house.
But even at the risk of burning
the moth always seeks the light.


Note: "In Translation" is excerpted from the soon-to-be-published novel in verse, THE POET X, from Harper Collins.

Added: Thursday, January 25, 2018  /  From" THE POET X" (HarperCollins, 2018). Used with permission.
Elizabeth Acevedo
Photo by Stephanie Ifendu.

Elizabeth Acevedo was born and raised in New York City and her poetry is infused with Dominican bolero and her beloved city’s tough grit. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Maryland. Acevedo is a National Slam Champion and has performed for over 14 years at such nationally and internationally renowned venues as The Lincoln Center, Madison Square Garden, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, South Africa’s State Theatre, The Bozar in Brussels, and the National Library of Kosovo. She is also well known for poetry videos, which have gone viral and been picked up by PBS, Latina Magazine, and Cosmopolitan. Her poems have been published or are forthcoming in Puerto Del Sol, Callaloo, Poet Lore, The Notre Dame Review, and others. Acevedo is a Cave Canem Fellow, CantoMundo Fellow, and participant of the Callaloo Writer's Workshop. She is the author of two poetry collections: Beastgirl & Other Origin Myths (YesYes Books, 2016) and her debut novel, The Poet X (HarperCollins) will be published in 2018. She served as coach of Split This Rock's DC Youth Slam Team from 2013 to 2015. Learn more at her website.

Elizabeth Acevedo is a Featured Poet for Split This Rock Poetry Festival: Poems of Provocation & Witness 2018. Visit the information page for more details.

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