Pilgrimage to A Killing

By R. ZAMORA LINMARK

Dear friend, take me to where they dragged you.
Show me the plaza flanked by homes made
of hollow blocks, plywood, rusty tin sheets—
anything to keep rain and flies out.
Point to me the CCTV that followed you
across the basketball court with its torn nets
and kids scrambling home to screaming mothers.You could barely keep your head up,
your arms drooping around the shoulders of two cops
in cargo shorts and T-shirts, testifying later
that you were drunk, drugged out, or worse: you
were someone else en route to his own slaughtering
beside a pigsty. Take me there, my friend.
More than ever, I’m with you to the end
of this world. Walk me through the narrow passages,
muddy from endless flooding and strewn
with mangy pets and shadows watching
and praying in the dark. Take me to the drainage
that is a hole at the bottom of a wall.
Is this where the river spills over on monsoon months,
flooding almost always to the rooftop of shanties?
And when the third man finally appeared,
did he offer you his gun in exchange for
a few more yards of life? Or did he simply push you
down with his words, order you to kneel
on sludge and face the wall of a brown
deep river quietly surging?

R. Zamora Linmark is a Manila-born poet, novelist, and playwright. His latest poetry collection is Pop Vérité. This Fall, Delacorte/Random House will be publishing The Importance of Being Wilde at Heart, his first novel for young adults. He divides his time between Honolulu, Hawaii, and Baguio, Philippines.

[Purchase Issue 18 here.]

Pilgrimage to A Killing

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