Grief Song

Revived in me, revived in me,
grief is revived in me.

A bullet sings a hole into a head.
In the midst of a gathering of wails,
a mother cups red earth into her palms—
red from the blood of her son whose head was bulleted,

his body betrayed by the cartridge
of a rogue officer. Tambourine in the boy’s hand,
he was on his way to God’s house.

God’s house where we all have cried and gnarred
              in search of hope.
Look at his body now. Look at his broken mother.

Revived in me, revived in me,
grief is revived in me.

Here, eku ò ké bí eku,
eye ò sì ké bí eye.*

The birds, devoid of wonder, do not chirp like birds.
The rats collide in anarchy, their voices
disordered by the sound of gunshots.
This is a country of bones and blood.
In an attempt to gather our collective grief, I write this poem,

this poem of brutalized bodies
thrown into the river, of young sons and daughters
who will dream no dreams, and those
who have dreamt dreams that will remain dreams.

Revived in me, revived in me,
grief is revived in me.

I look in the mirror and ask:
is this what will become of me?
A policeman. A gun. A shot. A hole.
And I fall and fall and fall.
There, my body, lowered into a gaping ground.

*eku ò ké bí eku/ eye ò sì ké bí eye” is a Yorùbá proverb that depicts a state of chaos and
anarchy.


Kolawole Samuel Adebayo lives in Akure, Ondo State, Nigeria. Kolawole was a semifinalist for the 2020 Jack Grapes Poetry Prize and won first place in the January 2020 edition of the Shuzia Creative Writing Contest. His chapbook manuscript, INVOCATIONS, was recently selected by Kwame Dawes and Chris Abani for the New Generation African Poet Series (Akashic Books and APBF, 2021). His works have appeared in Glass Poetry, Button
PoetryVoicemail PoemsLucent DreamingMineral Lit MagPraxis Magazine and elsewhere.