Did You Not Know The Man?

Did You Not Know The Man?
[A dirge for Kofi Awoonor]
By
Richard Ali.

Did you not know the man you killed as a wildebeest in the press
Of skeltering feet at the Westgate Mall? Was it a flash decision
Reflex running blind through rifle sight to de-humanize
Making stags of men, impersonal, clinical, shooting them down?

O mirror likeness of my sorrow, which is the finer sadness—
At the affray of kin or the weaverbird eulogies following?
Or at heirs whose bullets are the bowl balls that toppled
Alchemist Awoonor, mesmersmith, knowing him not?

Still now is the chest holding his heart pierced through, full my eyes
Recalling his line – “Dzogbese Lisa has treated me thus” – verse that
Made sterling cause the threads of my harried, desperate Black!
O, cruel Somali brother, did you not know this man you killed?

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