Elegy for the Slaughtered

In the country where now it is the darkest form
of dark, every night has turned nightmare. There,

where demons think they have permission to freely
take what they want from among us, every encounter

is no longer rehearsal but battle. In the lands
where our foremothers sang through their teeth

through the air on wings of power, the cowardly
stumble to erect barricade after barricade.

They have outlawed Uber, though you might still
be able to get a Grab. Merciless traffic, lines

for public transportation so long their measure
could take you out of this world. I wish they would

actually take you out of this world, where not even
the most cautious child can find a sliver of clear

moonlight to guarantee home. But let us sing anyway:
for somewhere, someone winding and rewinding

the closed circuit TV tape has come to the part
where voices have doused the lamps in the alley; where

it is shown how they turned the alley into a sink,
fetid blood and liquids pooling slowly toward a clotted

drain. O for the beating of wings to shrive what they try
to hide in the dank pits of darkness. Collective hubbub

beyond the tracks and open air markets, where butchers
periodically wet their glistening wares with water— animal

jowls; flanks and sweetbreads pulsing under bare light bulbs.
The animal would first have been stunned with some kind

of blow: rendered unconscious, but not yet immediately
dead. The throat might be slashed, or a stake driven

close to the heart, the liver, the spleen. A captive bolt
pistol or conventional firearm might be fired into

the animal’s brain. On the tape, you might hear the boy
as he pleads: not necessarily for his life, just for time.

Someone heard his concern about having yet enough night after this
moment in which to memorize his lessons for a test. What is

the shortest distance between two points if not a line? His killers
were heard goading him to hold a gun; fire it, then run. This is how

animals are trussed tight for the final serve into the fire. It’s how
you know this is something they could not possibly have done to themselves.

~ in memoriam, Kian Loyd Delos Santos and all youth EJK victims; and the 13,000+

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