Thursday, June 2, 2022

How Not to Disappear by Victoria Adukwei Bulley

How Not to Disappear

“I told a police officer that my son was missing, please help me find him, and she said: ‘If you can’t find your son, how do you expect police officers to find your son for you?’”
Who would guess the prayers you’ll say
walking home at night, crossing streets you know
too well were never yours to claim. All the promises
you’ll make about what you’ll do with your life
should you make it to the warm indoors,
the soft & grateful bed. God, you’ll say, below your breath,
let no strange man put hands on me, let the dark
not drape this body on terms other than its own;
speed me to the door, let the first key be the right one;
the mechanism oiled & easy. & should I fail, you’ll say
in any of this, let me have spoken to no one lately
about bad days, hard times, or worse have written
a poem or two about them, to be found when your belongings
are thumbed through, finally; too late. Please, God, you’ll say,
one more time, deliver me home to my known life, seen
& loved by those to whom it’s always mattered; borne & fed
by a lover & others who, like you, already know how
(& how not) to disappear, unable to forget
the way they spoke to that boy’s mother.

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