for scores of Nigerian Youths murdered by policemen in Awkuzu
featured in SEASON OF SORROW
in this dream, i pluck the bullet from the body,
collect the coins left in his eyes by shutting them with my palm
i plant the coins in a garden where a flower grows from
the dried skull of someone’s missing child. i weep as
the gunshot is fired backward into the gun before the
policeman shot his target— he was walking out of his house
to buy dinner for his grandmother.
beneath the dying breath of the sun, another woman’s son
is carted away. & for days, his unclaimed body dances
to the slow tunes of rage. outside the prison walls, everyone
here is missing, their pictures flying on twitter, their family
trembling from root. a boy whose father had just died sings
of his home as empty as january sky, his hopes bleak like
december morning. often i picture myself there, in those
prisons, pressing my anguish into the wall as a fist, wishing
someone would dream & see me begging for release, saying
i didn’t do anything, i swear, i didn’t do anything.
tell me what metaphor for son or daughter will comfort
a father made to search a river of dead children for his
every city in this country is a death sentence. we wake
with prayers nesting a bird in our throats. perhaps,
the morning will tell if today be the day the bullet of
an officer would make a body as soft as wool. the metaphor
for home is a red rope guided arrogantly into a girl’s neck.
the metaphor for home is unsafe,
is if you are looking for your brother, check the police station,
is dear lord, can you see where your shadow is now that your sons
need its wings?