The Police Arrest Me Restocking ARVs

I will never let no man nor God weep for me
anymore.

Let the pity end where my saliva lands.
At night they let me blame myself for surviving—they

find a scrap of steel, sharpen it against thunder, & hard, they
strike me while my night is still young.

The police, they have arrested me.

If I told a lie they would ricochet my name to the case book.
I showed them the prescription but there’s a plague. If

I can’t be dead in seven months why risk it to the hospital
in the middle of a pandemic? & boy oh boy what is your virus

against a virus? I promise, if you go home the plague will soon be defeated,
we’ll go home too, to our families, & you can have as many ARVs as you desire.

Arjuk ya ilahi anqithny—have you seen, Lord, how everyday I plot my survival
but someone keeps snatching the graph, have you seen Lord, how they

cage a bird, starve it till the song in its throat is a cough, the last note of heavy metallic?
The police, they have me.

Death is time spent with your country.

— Akpa Arinzechukwu


Akpa Arinzechukwu is an Igbo writer. Their work has appeared in Kenyon Review, Prairie Schooner, The Southampton Review, Poetry Review, Adda, Fourteen Poems, Arc Poetry, Clavmag, Lumiere Review, and elsewhere. They were a finalist for the Black Warriors Review Fiction Contest 2020.