Natalie Diaz

cantfindit

Natalie Diaz was born and raised in the Fort Mojave Indian Village in Needles, California, on the banks of the Colorado River. She is Mojave and an enrolled member of the Gila River Indian Tribe. Her first poetry collection, When My Brother Was an Aztec, was published by Copper Canyon Press in 2012. She is 2018 MacArthur Foundation Fellow, a Lannan Literary Fellow and a Native Arts Council Foundation Artist Fellow. She was awarded a Bread Loaf Fellowship, the Holmes National Poetry Prize, a Hodder Fellowship, and a PEN/Civitella Ranieri Foundation Residency, as well as being awarded a US Artists Ford Fellowship. Diaz teaches at the Arizona State University Creative Writing MFA program. Source

They Don't Love You Like I Love You

My mother said this to me

long before Beyoncé lifted the lyrics

from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs,

 

and what my mother meant by

Don’t stray was that she knew

all about it—the way it feels to need

 

someone to love you, someone

not your kind, someone white,

some one some many who live

 

because so many of mine

have not, and further, live on top of

those of ours who don’t.

 

I’ll say, say, say,

I’ll say, say, say,

What is the United States if not a clot

 

of clouds? If not spilled milk? Or blood?

If not the place we once were

in the millions? America is Maps

 

Maps are ghosts: white and 

layered with people and places I see through.

My mother has always known best,

 

knew that I’d been begging for them,

to lay my face against their white

laps, to be held in something more

 

than the loud light of their projectors

of themselves they flicker—sepia

or blue—all over my body.

 

All this time,

I thought my mother said, Wait,

as in, Give them a little more time

 

to know your worth,

when really, she said, Weight,

meaning heft, preparing me

 

for the yoke of myself,

the beast of my country’s burdens,

which is less worse than

 

my country’s plow. Yes,

when my mother said,

They don’t love you like I love you,

 

she meant,

Natalie, that doesn’t mean

you aren’t good.

Published:

2019

Length:

Regular

Literary Movements:

Contemporary

Anthology Years:

2022

Themes:

Pop Culture

Racial Injustice

Strength & Resilience

Literary Devices:

Allusion

an expression designed to call something to mind without mentioning it explicitly; an indirect or passing reference

Bleeding Title

when the title of a poem acts as the first line

Dialogue

conversation between two or more people as a feature of a book, play, or movie

Epizeuxis

words or phrases repeated one after another in quick succession

Imagery

visually descriptive or figurative language, especially in a literary work

Metaphor

a comparison between two unrelated things through a shared characteristic

Rhetorical Question

a question asked for effect, not necessarily to be answered