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
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.)
© 2021 Abu Bakr Sadiq