Hafizah Geter was born in Zaria, Nigeria, and received her BA in English and economics from Clemson University and her MFA in poetry from Columbia College Chicago. Geter’s poems have appeared in Boston Review, Narrative Magazine, The New Yorker, and Tin House, among others. A Cave Canem fellow and the recipient of a 2012 Amy Award from Poets & Writers, Geter serves on the board of VIDA: Women in the Literary Arts and works as an editor at Little A and Day One from Amazon Publishing. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.
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for Michael Brown (1996–2014)
Officer, for hours I lay there.
The sun at my back.
My blood running a country
mile between the pavement
and the crown of my head.
No ambulance ever came.
It took a long time to cover my body.
There are politics to death
and here politics performs
its own autopsies. My aunties
say things like, Boy big and black as you.
Then, the prosecution rests.
My neighbors never do. They lose
sleep as the National Guard parades
down Canfield. I heard my blood
was barely dry. I heard there were soldiers
beating their shields like war cries,
my boys holding hands to hold on
through your tear gas. Heard my mother
wandered the streets,
her body trembling
between a sign of a cross
and a fist. I heard a rumor
about riots got started.
Officer, I heard that after so much blood,
the ground develops
a taste for it.