citizen by death

Sodïq Oyèkànmí

in a dream 
i am in my fatherland
walking unbridled
unscathed      unshot      [as it should be]

with my brothers     i am walking 
the street towards the cathedral
with no bullet trying to make
our bodies unwhole      

no black badges 
tapping their holsters         waiting 
for us to say yes to say no
to say maybe 

to hand us death 
& certify our citizenship anyway 

say young    lucky & rich    enough to buy 
an iphone        say high or bold enough 
to revolt
against the devils in kaftans

here    you do not need to wormhole
through the past to know
what happened to Abel
look into the street 

there are enough Cains with canines
gnashing the necks of my brothermen 

maybe i am exaggerating        maybe
i am not              i hope one day 
you do not have to marathon
because a .22 is after your life

i wake up in a cathedral 
damp with sweat
in cadenced whimper    i say
God abeg

Sodïq Oyèkànmí is a genre-bending writer of Yorùbá descent. He is a florist, librarian, and thespian. He co-judged the AKUKỌ Inaugural Poetry Competition alongside Rosed Serrano. A Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee, his works have been published and are forthcoming in Strange Horizons, Poetry Wales, The Muse Journal, Kalahari Review, IceFloe Press, trampset, The Orchards Poetry Journal, Olney Magazine, Brittle Paper, Agbowó, and elsewhere. His work was commended for the 2022 Adroit Prize for Poetry.

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