After Escaping Fire – by Abu Bakr Sadiq

This poem was chosen for a musical response by Featured Musician and Professional Flute Player, Michael Morton.

After Escaping Fire

Do you remember anything?
i saw insignias of wars, smeared on their tongues
when they opened their mouths to speak.
then the country’s name worn by our fathers
& their fathers, getting torn into emblems of darkness.

Do you remember anything?
hills of smoke branching out of houses.
war-crafts, sieving the chaffs of serenity
left in our bodies. a bullet, or more, looking for a home
in my father’s chest. in my mother’s breast.

Where were you?
the edge of a city. learning to build
a home out of fire; out of ashes, left
by my brothers’ bodies, on our playground.

What did they say?

What did they say?
gunshots. explosions. fire.
we bring you peace; as-salaam alaykum.

What did they take?
peace. the color of sunset from our eyes.

What did they leave?

children, sleeping in bedrooms that turn graveyards in the morning.

How do you sleep?
crouched beside the undying memories of:
homes, dancing to the echoes of gunshots,
men, bathing the country with the blood of her children,
bullets sneaking into the spines of families & not leaving,
generations of future leaders fed to hands that open the mouth of fire;
with my eyes opened, & wide.

How do you sleep?

Abu Bakr Sadiq is a student at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. He dabbles between page & performance poetry. He's currently a member of the Hill-Top Arts Creative Foundation, Minna, & the co-founder of Just For Words, a platform aimed at promoting performance poetry. He was a finalist in the Kreative Diadem Creative Writing Contest. His works have appeared on Kreative Diadem, and the second anthology of BoysAreNotStones. He loves gurasa, scrabble & his mom. You can find him on Twitter & IG @bakronline

Statement by Featured Artist, Shelley Thomas: I close my eyes and I see images of war and suffering. Fire, thick smoke rising in black columns. Ashes. Limbs. The trauma of broken things. The burden of memory. Fear that never fades. I think of monsters and sharp teeth. Things that tear and rip and shred. Branches, broken glass, bottlecaps.
Art: “Skeksis,” 2019 (Lake Ontario, Canada)

Statement from Featured Musician, Michael Morton: I followed the words as I played. The notes are not verbatim, but the phrasing is. I created a motive for the italicized questions. A really emotional one, this is. Well, most all of them are.