i still ache for emptiness like i
would silence in a
father was a lonely boat
in sea folds.
he inked saline water in a letter
& left it sprawling
on the dining table.
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 survival— a 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.