ghost undead

i still ache for emptiness like i

             would silence in a 

                    sequence of 


father was a lonely boat 

                   in sea folds.

he inked saline water in a letter 

                    & left it sprawling 

on the dining table.

reading it,

one could feel the weight of 

his grief pressing on the brown paper. 

flies mock mother & her open wound.

this is what happens to widows

whose husbands willed abundant debt.

my siblings & i

look at the crisis

parading our old house.

the population of black ants

stacking crumbs in a crack in our room.

my grandma is grey & wrinkles enough

to commune with spirits. she says father 

is alive. so we’re all here at the shore, still

waiting to see which wave he returns with.



we left with a longing                stretched over the ocean
like bridges, like night sky.        the darkness stuffed in
the mouths of our bags;              pockets, shoes & wounds
made our boat keel over.            born of wind, we threw
ourselves against the tide           to still the raging storm.
a shoal swam towards us           but we clipped their gills
with our kinsmen bones.          rode them as seahorses
to cross shark waters.                 on this beach, seashells,
the color of our identity,            gathered broken songs at 
our feet, there is no home.           we traced every opening 
on our skins, these lines              led to our slain kinsmen
praying us to run & run            
because home is survivala longing of no end.

Oluwatobi E. POROYE is a teacher, economist and poet whose works explore grief, silence, home and migrants. He is a son who loves his father but too secretive to show it. He is a Best of the Net nominee. His works have been published on Perhappened and elsewhere. He writes from Ogun, Nigeria.