Ocean stories

On the first day of a leap year when our fingers sank into
hot sands at the coast, a fisherman was burned at the stake for rocking his boat & paddling it backwards.

I begin the day by throwing blueberries into the sea in a village where the law forbids fishermen from building a boat & teaching village children to chorus water songs towards heaven.

this is the month that steered my father into grief—a wrist painted
with stains & a handful of sorrows. I trudge beneath an assemblage of bones & my father’s body vanishes into a coffin.

once at night, i saw a revolution; my grandmother walked into the
skin of a wolf & flapped her hands slowly; she called back her son as she howled into a bowl of water.

if a river swallows the sandbank & I mouth a eulogy with my eyes
closed & my hands raised, it will be mistaken for worship. if i recoil
a gun & aim for the stars, a boy child is poured back into the sea.

I imagine myself a moses, dragged from the ocean to tear a city apart; let’s say all I want is a song to dissolve into—a fish to smell like & a river to wash away my good intentions.

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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