398: American Sonnet for My Past and Future Assassin [“You don’t seem to want it, but you wanted it”]

398: American Sonnet for My Past and Future Assassin [“You don’t seem to want it, but you wanted it”]

398: American Sonnet for My Past and Future Assassin [“You don’t seem to want it, but you wanted it”]


For the remainder of this week, we’ve chosen to replay episodes that take up questions of social justice. The outrage and heartbreak brought on by the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and other black citizens remind us that courageous dialogue about racial prejudice is critical to the survival of our culture. And we believe that poetry is a perfect vehicle for just such dialogue.


American Sonnet for My Past and Future Assassin [“You don’t seem to want it, but you wanted it”]
by Terrance Hayes

You don’t seem to want it, but you wanted it.
You don’t seem to want it, but you won’t admit it.
You don’t seem to want admittance.
You don’t seem to want admission.
You don’t seem to want it, but you haunt it.
You don’t seem too haunted, but you haunted.
You don’t seem to get it, but you got it.
You don’t seem to care, but you care.
You don’t seem to buy it, but you sell it.
You don’t seem to want it, but you wanted it.
You don’t seem to prey, but you prey,
You don’t seem to pray but you full of prayers,
You don’t seem to want it, but you wanted it.
You don’t seem too haunted, but you haunted.

"American Sonnet for My Past and Future Assassin ["You don’t seem to want it, but you wanted it"]," from American Sonnet for My Past and Future Assassin by Terrance Hayes. Copyright © 2018 by Terrance Hayes. Used by permission of Penguin Random House.