Cave

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SADDIQ DZUKOGI

 
 

Half a mile from the masjid, the wails of gunshot

filter through a fluttering wind. I am afraid

of the moist caves bullets carve on skin.

Walk inside a wound.

Slip your body inside that space, damp

and covered in blood—

pain’s rust, twirled like drape, a fistful

of metal delivered straight into my chest,

until what the heart conceals

pours out as salt and water, the deepening

stars in your face.

I went to the masjid,

found all those who have gone in to pray

under a tree turned into shoes,

heel worn, worked and covered with dust. The earth

is inheritable with the pain of seeing the dead

weave silence into a path

out of this world.

I manipulate memory so my daughter is in two places,

dead in the makabarta and alive

in my heart.

Observe my mouth. It stretches songs

that refuse to leave.

It girds my pain like a ship

in a snowstorm. No healing exists

beneath the ground. We suffer

only the weight of the living, and a sea of longings

below the darkness of deep water.

In six days the wound of loss will reopen and bleed

and clot and bleed and clot

until I can only pretend healing

or to smile in a way that it is not in my heart

the next time I walk into the masjid

knowing the bullet

drags me closer to God than to prayers.