“Fatima” by K’naan


Names sit holy on the tongue like pre-sun salat, like body and blood, sliced apples in honey.

When someone leaves us, we speak what remains of them. Name becomes spirit.

K’naan’s song repeats her name:

Fatima, did he know your name?

They grew up in Somalia when life meant a gunman could easily rip breath from body without knowing a person’s name.

I think of police who didn’t know names. #sayhisname/#sayhername. We now mourn, honor, fight injustice with their names so sacred: Sandra, Eric, Michael, Aiyana, Philando.

Damn you, shooter. Damn you, the building
Whose walls hid the blood she was spilling.
Damn you, country so good at killing.
Damn you, feeling, for persevering.

This could be dirge, but it’s upbeat celebration. The little girl in the backseat of Philando Castile’s car, seeing his blood, fearful her mom will “get shooted,” too, I hope her song goes upbeat.

I don’t know her name, though I know it must be sacred. For now, I’ll call her Freedom. It’s the sacred desire I wish to speak into her life.

-Ciona D. Rouse

image2Ciona Rouse lives in Nashville, Tennessee. She is the author of the chapbook VANTABLACK (Third Man Books, 2017) and curates many poetry experiences around Nashville.

Questions, compliments, (hopefully not) complaints?

Contact Jackie Clark: jackie [at] coldfrontmag [dot] com.

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