Crash Course in a Slaughterhouse

Nnadi Samuel

“we grow into the slaughter we are born for” – K-Ming Chang

It outlives magic: this tearing apart of mashed
bodies, without incurring a bloodstain.
broken torso, yanked from the wreck scene.
the shard stuck in between our teeth like a brand new phrase.

surgery blade tears through a lifespan.
cerecloth, holding the corpse skywards – the way you take a request to God
or take a long break.

since being Christlike implies moulding a miracle
from mirage, till the ‘nointing slacks.

I do not know about elastic pain,
but I’ve known a placenta to its stretch limit,
because I too am a product of a rough-up:

flesh stitched against free will, to rot in unkind places.
hijab; machete ripped from a woman’s neck.
skin stunned by the silvery weight of metal
to a well-peeled surrender.

how slaughter-driven this aggressive let-loose between fabric & loin,
thread & flesh wound,

boy & his furnace of a hand.
bystanders & wailing – siren that they are

fodder for accident, as we know them to be,
since holding Christ by his words implies
stating the blade where it aches:
at the tibia, a bone terribly sutured in a way we stay

piecing the hurt, till every shard takes the form of language.


For Every Bus Stop, There is an Equal Sporadic Shootout

This asthmatic lad pouring his breath into the failed exhaust system of a minibus –
English resting on his tongue.
a vow pinning him to the asphalt granite.

I attest to that verb full of cartridge & deadly spark.
I attest to stray bullets, misplaced hits.
to the hastiness in burial rites:

a middle-aged man, tucking in the road’s belly
his only son: a heartbreak of a child.

death comes in tripod:
two ruptured arms & a displaced head shoved under a blanket of ash.

an upturned carcass was once neat corpse anyway,
& how to account for what rage turns benevolence to a boneyard?

how he laid bone-close to earth,
till his skin browns the crimson soil.

each mound, a pathway to every foot seeking safety,
as they race, still uniformed in their grief.

boy, lacing & relacing his heartbeat in the hour
of its panic attack – pulse searching, as the nurse
rummaging a body for pockets of life.
see, there are no easy routes to resuscitation.

teenagers, spelling knife backwards.
the scar re-hatching in the ugly fashion of a
camo – blood patterned to roughening.

may God see the wound in all of this:

that the children are sore footed trudging,
maybe aware of their being chased into the slaughter they were born for.

a barrage of slain teens, tucked in the road’s belly.

Nnadi Samuel (he/him/his) holds a BA in English and  Literature from the University of Benin. His works have been previously published or are forthcoming in Suburban Review, Seventh Wave Magazine, NativeSkin Lit Magazine, North Dakota Quarterly, Quarterly West, FIYAH, Fantasy Magazine, Uncanny Magazine, The Capilano Review, Contemporary Verse 2, Gutter Magazine, Carte Blanche, Dgëku, Agbówo, Gordon Square Review, Trampset, Beestung Magazine, The Elephant Magazine, and elsewhere. He was the winner of the Miracle Monocle Award for Ambitious Student Writers 2021 (University of Louisville), the Penrose Poetry Prize 2021, the Lakefly Poetry Contest 2021 (Wisconsin), the International Human Right Arts Festival Award 2021, and the Canadian Open Drawer Contest 2020. He got an honourable mention for the 2021 Betty L. Yu and Jin C.Yu Creative Writing Prize (College Category). He is the author of Reopening of Wounds & Subject Lessons (forthcoming). He reads for U-Right Magazine.

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