Langston Hughes

(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967 / Missouri)

Madam and the Census Man


The census man,
The day he came round,
Wanted my name
To put it down.

I said, Johnson,
Alberta K.
But he hated to write
The K that way.

He said, What
Does K stand for?
I said, K--
And nothing more.

He said, I'm gonna put it
KÐAÐY.
I said, If you do,
You lie.

My mother christened me
Alberta K.
You leave my name
Just that way!

He said, Mrs.,
(With a snort)
Just a K
Makes your name too short.

I said, I don't
Give a damn!
Leave me and my name
Just like I am!

Furthermore, rub out
That MRS., too--
I'll have you know
I'm Madam to you!

Submitted: Saturday, March 27, 2010

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