Don't Call Us Dead - Pages 1 - 22 Summary & Analysis

Danez Smith
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Summary

The collection opens with two epigraphs: one from Drake’s song “Legend,” and another from Sonia Sanchez’s 1997 poem “Father’s Voice.”

The first section consists of a single poem, “summer, somewhere.” It opens with a description of an idyllic summer landscape in which young black boys play without the interference of violence, history, or the state. The speaker implores the reader to call them not dead, but “alive someplace better” (3). The speaker discusses how these boys are born: pulled from the ground, dropped from the sky, dragged behind cars. In all cases, they are told that they are boys again and encouraged to dance. They give themselves new names, and many choose “alive” (4).

The speaker’s mother prays to her son, expressing a need to re-bury him the right way. She praises the water and soil his body becomes and promises to...

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This section contains 2,100 words
(approx. 6 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Don't Call Us Dead Study Guide
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