Come to the waters

a petal opens up into the
arms of one april morning.
it was my father, calling me
to come to the waters
to drown in his breath.

i forgot to begin this poem
with a eulogy, a death song
of a father who bellied the aches
of a lonely mother & carried it to
a grave full of bones & a cavity of dust.

then, i begin with a ritual;
a girl who woke up into
dark stains on the pages
of her skin & the outbreak
of fire in her eyes.

i forgot to title this poem
“the bitterness of a bloated father”
but i remember that i was born with
a swollen body & there was salt
on my tongue.

so i continue with my body as a sanctuary
& my mother’s silence; inordinate utterances
before a wrecking wind.
we have found home in the mouth of a father
who retreats before naming his children after a war.

i sail into an ocean with my fingernails
digging into the memory in your skull.
i am tired of living in this house
that stinks of ruin & blood.

i am tired of screaming into
every night like a lost lamp
in darkness.

I retell the tale of a petal that opens
into the arms of the morning
& my father whispering
son, come to the waters.

Ayomide Festus is a Nigerian poet. His works have been published or are forthcoming in Ice Floe Press, Quality Poets Review, After the Pause, the Eriata Oribhabor monthly review of Poets in Nigeria, Misfit Magazine and elsewhere. Co-winner of WRR-CAPRECON Green Author Prize 2015, and a graduate of Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria. He was shortlisted for the 2017 Chrysolite Team ranking. He writes from Ibadan, Nigeria. You can say hi on Twitter: @Ayomidefestus8.

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1 Response to Come to the waters

  1. L.K. Latham says:

    Eulogy? Certainly there, but perhaps it’s not for who we think it’s for.

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