my father’s last hope for water

oil could be the reason i was born in July,
the detritus’ best blessing;
between the fishermen & their empty nets,
right off the islanding sands.
a homing boat calls for a lost roost
like a lone seagull.
my father & our fathers’ landing,
with the mist haloing, echoes the iambic
cry.
i have not read about the howl by Allen
Ginsberg,
the egrets’ elegies coming through,
one can be sure the old & the new Americans
are not different from us, the living nights.
i hear the declaration, the rustle
the national choir often sings,
rooted on equal shore.
there is a pianist that understands how the river flows
this rainy season.
how the panther understands black music.
he’s slow, troubled & practiced,
lifting his fingers off the white keys when the need
to be black becomes too important
to ignore his origins.
my father is the origin of all violins,
his elbows deep-roots in the instrument, finds in his imagined delirium
the boat now heading north with debris-light
swollen in its belly
& grandfathers broken all on swamp.
we have been performing funerals all along
fishing in the Ekole river.
i sit as a child on the beach,
my back against the south where i come from. he gives up the net
& the hook, six fishless years rise with him
as he lifts his sandburnt feet to walk on waterweed
across the little brook between us,
his woman, my mother, has been waiting for him
at the end of her life. instead of swimming,
he ships his bones over his own liquid shadows,
black in one of the habits which serves him like water,
shapeless.

Tares Oburumu is a lover of God and his daughter, Sasha. He writes from 25 kilometers away from the city of Warri, Nigeria. His works have appeared in Connotation Press, The Agonist, EXPOUND, Nantygreens, Naija Stories, Tuesday Poems, Ngiga Review, Agbowó, The Woven Tale Press and elsewhere.

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1 Response to my father’s last hope for water

  1. Susan Kaluza says:

    This is an astounding poem. One of the most beautiful I have read for awhile. Stunning.

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