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POST MASSACRE PSYCHE EVALUATION

I know what I’ve seen of blood & death—what the night forgets

to cover in its shadows; what part of paradise a bullet

undresses before the body‚ before stealing light from its eyes.

 

What was asked is, are you healing or still hurting?

 

I don’t know what you’re looking for in me

but in my sleep, I keep talking to dead bodies.

They speak back with a tongue the government hates;

with their mouthfuls of hurt—black holes, dying to swallow

the country that tossed their souls to heaven.

 

How much did they pay for your silence?

 

Should the head be cut off from the body,

out of fear of what this city of smoke & blood has to tell it?

I don’t have all the answers. I know nothing of standing

for what’s right. I’m scared of telling the truth.

There are shooters outside my window.

 

Why is this scar on your chin shaped like your country?

 

The dead wish we could hear what they say.

I can no longer speak of my needs on the street.

How do you translate this kind of silence?

There’s a lot I cannot tell you. Nobody knows

the price of silence but all my friends are

traumatized or waiting for the sun to name

a part of them dwindling into oblivion.

 

On a scale of zero to God, please do something, how much hope have you lost in life since the

massacre?

 

I watch the police hose down the face of a man

with bullets. I watch the man fall like a dry leaf

in autumn. I watch the ground catch his blood

like raindrops. I watch his body slip into stillness.

Into God’s silence. Into my sleep. Into my dreams.

I look up to the sky to watch God watching us in silence.

 

Do you feel tachyarrhythmia, shortness of breath, pressure in the chest, tremors and hand

sweating when you’re stopped by the police?

 

My sisters are afraid another man will be shot

for walking with his head up. I’m afraid I’ll be buried

without my voice. My voice, my voice.

Did anyone hear my voice ask the government to end police

brutality? My God, my God, please do something before they come for me.

 

(Editors’ Note: “POST MASSACRE PSYCH EVALUATION” is read by Matt Peters on the Uncanny Magazine Podcast, 43A.)

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Abu Bakr Sadiq

Abu Bakr Sadiq, Deadliner XI, is a Nigerian poet. His poems have appeared in FIYAH, Uncanny Magazine, The Lit Quarterly, Knights’ Library Magazine, Iskanchi Press & Magazine, Black Cat Magazine, Zone 3 Press, Rockvale Review, The Drinking Gourd, and elsewhere. He emerged First Runner-up in the Whispering Crescent Poetry Prize, 2021. He writes from Minna. Find him on twitter @bakronline

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