There Are No Ghosts In Chechnya
my brothers are made to sit upon bottles in chechnya.
in chechnya my brothers are made to bleed. caught up
inside a prophylactic sweep, no one’s a homosexual
in Chechnya a spokesperson speaks, says if such people
existed... law enforcement would not have to worry
as their own relatives would have sent them to where
they could never return to chechnya. my brothers
are broken inside an electrical current, are beaten
between the ages of fifty and fifteen. you cannot arrest
or repress people who just don’t exist. my brothers
do not exist in chechnya. how language can make
& unmake what lives. a people erased. a deleted phrase.
a desire emptied as a bottle you’re made to take inside:
this is not a poem. the missiles are beautiful. i’m not
weeping as i write this. there are no ghosts in chechnya.
sam sax is the author of Madness (Penguin, 2017) winner of The National Poetry Series and ‘Bury It’ (Wesleyan University Press, 2018). He’s received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Lambda Literary, the MacDowell Colony.