“The African American Tale” by Jeremiah Givhan

Jeremiah Givhan (age 8)


One day in the dry desert upon the road in African America
there was a boy who asked his mama, I one day want to play
on the African American team. But she said that’s too tough
they’ll crush you like a crumble. That night he went to sleep.
The next day he asked his mama, I’m going to play
on the African American spelling bee. That’s way too hard
she said. You won’t even make it past the first round.
Then he went back to sleep. The next day his mama said
No this time I will tell you what you will play.
You will play The African American Tale, counting minutes.
But the boy said You do it with me every day, the boy and his mama
playing the game together. People can play whatever they want.
They don’t have to listen to anyone else. Even their mamas.

from 2017 Rattle Young Poets Anthology


Why do you like to write poetry?

Jeremiah Givhan: “To me, each poem has its own feeling. When I started writing them, it felt like they were actually alive.”

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