I check my husband’s black skin and remember to call my son by Saddiq Dzukogi

by Leslie Anne Mcilroy

‘’Be careful, it’s the phrase we, my mother
my brothers and sisters, tell each other
whenever we live’’ — Natalie Diaz

My friend was beaten & left for dead, 
jogging after sunset

in a white neighborhood.                         
I told him to be thankful, 
for others have died for far too less.
Each time I hear gunshots calling   
the district to silence,
I check my brown skin,
I check my husband’s black skin
and remember to call my son,

who is down the street walking his dog.
I never worry about the dog’s safety                                                                                                                                             
                around a white police man when two
                other black men are shot.
                Someone said the white police man

                couldn’t hurt a fly, couldn’t hurt a dog,
                but could fatally shoot my son,                                                                                                                                                         
                black or brown, who as much as sells
                or buys cigarettes. I have barred him                                                                                                                                                      
                from wearing hoodies,
                as though it is law breaking.

                Many black boys have died
                for that piece of fashion,

                have died because no one
                could see their faces.                                                                                                                                                

Photo of Saddiq Dzukogi

Photo of Saddiq Dzukogi

Saddiq Dzukogi studied at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. He has poems featured or forthcoming in literary publications such as: Pittsburgh Poetry Review, Juked, Cleaver Magazine, Chiron Review, Vinyl Poetry, The Volta, The Blue Lotus Art Journal, Grey Sparrow, among numerous others. Saddiq is the Poetry Editor of the online journal, Expound. Has received Pushcart Prize Nomination and was twice finalist in The Association of Nigerian Author’s Poetry Prize.