Magical Negro

Morgan Parker

from “A Brief History of the Present”

                                                                     … I worry sometimes

I will only be allowed a death story. No one will say in

the New Yorker how my mother made her money, who

I married, how my career began. Your people. The death

story is just a name folded into another name. My name

might be a list, or a hymn, or a body, an investigation,

a year, a lineage. I might become an autopsy, and

the reason won’t matter, only my understanding, my

swallowing of my rightful place, tectonic plates clicking

like a jaw, and—stubbornly, like history—my mouth

become their mouth speaking who I am.