Live Virtual Group Session: 6pm EDT May 17th 2021

Thank you to everyone who joined for this session!

Our text for this session was the poem “They Don’t Love You Like I Love You” by Natalie Diaz, posted below.

Our prompt for this session was: “Write about wait or weight.

More details on this session will be posted, so check back!

Participants are warmly encouraged to share what you wrote below (“Leave a Reply”), to keep the conversation going here, bearing in mind that the blog of course is a public space where confidentiality is not assured.

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Please join us for our next session Monday May 24th at 6pm EDT, with more times listed on our Live Virtual Group Sessions page.


They Don't Love You Like I Love You
by Natalie Diaz

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.

 

 


*The italicized words, 
with the exception of the final stanza, 
come from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs song "Maps."

Copyright © 2019 by Natalie Diaz. 
Originally published in Poem-a-Day on June 20, 2019, 
by the Academy of American Poets.