Bargaining

i did not peel the chicken feathers.
i close the kitchen door & open a portal
into this poem. i know you are wondering
why i start from the end. i guess because
that is where the body rests—cold & bloody.
if this kind of death can be called rest.
it has been many years since i was frightened.
i’ve heard a lot about catastrophes. i have seen them too.
i would say there is nothing about loss that i haven’t felt.
but not today. tonight, i will sit myself down
practice how to answer the phone calls. how to bargain
for my loved ones’ ransom. how to cut my rage
into tiny pieces of gentleness that will not fuel their madness.
ranku shi daɗe. Allah ya huce zuciyar ku. ɗan labai.
i will keep speaking to them this way because last time
my uncle lost a limb, & i’ve heard of children dying
in captivity. at this moment, all i can hear is so many
thoughts hauling my mind. maybe i should scream until
i lose the voices in my head. even though this might have a ring
of calmness around it. i could not wear it on my finger
or hear the vibration in my bones. holding the phone
to my ears, dan labai, nawa zamu biya wannan karar?
i need to know how much my loved one’s head will cost this time.

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