Count With Me


Kolade Johnson was killed on Sunday,
March 31, 2019, by officers of the unit,
when attempting to arrest another man
because of his dreadlocks.”
–Pulse, Nigeria

I want to begin with the bloodiest
bone. The occipital,

concave-shaped, beneath his oiled
scalp. Let the heart

sit motionless as a stone, flat as that
theory about the flatness

than the one my country affords: In
the news, someone

again is murdered, and I think of the
expansiveness of their

dying. How, at home, there are siblings
unaware of this

backward slump, a mother measuring
his absence with a

clock. My God, death can be so exact
in its taking. Like

golf. Like Judas, long-mouthed, leaning
in for a kiss.

Was it not him who taught Christ that
the difference

between slaughter and laughter is an “s”.
S as the sound of a

kiss. S as blood gushing through a hole.
Tell me, do you

believe in osteology, in the impervious-

ness of a skull

before it begins to crack. A uniformed
man, in the news,

is insisting that because one shot because
accidental. Wait—

this cadaver, numb and lifeless, is hollowed
[twice]. Like us all,

it must have wanted a death plain as salt,
a death that would

not disguise. Bless the metal in its frontal
lobe. Bless the man

in a police shirt. See how he’s learned
to tie his rage around

his thumb. I’m saying a boy is dead, but
there are still so

many guns registered, loaded, waiting for
whoever still breathes.

Chiwenite Onyekwelu