The Yay Sound. It’s not that
difficult a sound to make.
It’s the same even,
as the ones you ask me to make
to show you that I am
happy. (It’s fake, don’t forget.)
It’s not even RRs that roll
so slickly off our tongues,
that we can teach even our white
children to pronounce. It’s no
river to cross, there’s no wading
chest high through danger for you.
It’s the creek licking your
ankles. You barely even have
to roll up your pant legs. Say it
when the water is only shallow: Phew, yay.
Instead, the little ask we make is
to commit to memory
that the double L reminds you
that you too are happy. Yay!
Say it with me: yay.
Think of it as the yay in Kanye.
that should help jog your memory.
And if that doesn’t work,
just think of all that yay you snorted
in college while I buried my
yays deep down hiding in books
from each passing stranger, professor, friend
who never asked how to pronounce
my name. It’s a wonder you ever
learned to pronounce tortilla at Chipotle.
Apply that here.
Andrew Villegas is an editor at Colorado Public Radio in Denver. His reporting work has featured in The Washington Post, USA Today, NPR and in newspapers all over the country. His poetry has appeared in or is forthcoming from the Sonora Review, The Acentos Review, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Love’s Executive Order and in The Louisville Anthology from Belt Publishing.