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[Poetry] Two Poems by Martins Deep

A boy's plea to water

This seascape— tinted with the yellow breath of the dying sun—

spreads into a wiggling waistline

of the sea lap-dancing the shore to earn her bodies

of drowned immigrants— their faceless mass washed into the dailies.

Skyclad, i cast aside my bamboo flute, curio, amulet, fishing

hook— figurine of a broken-winged albatross, a pair of worn out

flip-flops, beside the underbelly of a canoe,

like a cocoa pod half-buried in the sand.

Here, i open a hard clam in a palm, & whisper a prayer

bead into it. close it like a secret

chest, & let it submerge as the dead

weight of my faith for country with the beating heart of doubt.

See, i cannot stop gazing at the night sky

to trace supernovas into the face of God.

I'm the boy who loads a paper ferry with his wishes

to sink it wherever there is a pulse of a dead man's dream.

Carry me. carry me away from here, where;

i. the mouths in the shack behind me

call me father, fishbones choking their syrinxes—

their voices like withered petals stuck in a woodwind;

ii. mockingbirds, in our compound, nest in the fruitless mango tree

whose roots are entangled with my umbilical cord.

Carry me away on this driftwood, west of my compass, to a soil

the flower i carry in my breast pocket cannot be pollenated by a rifle.


A twig, like a phono cartridge touches

the surface of water, & ripples spread

under my black skin.

The reflection of my face, a golden rumple,

disappears behind the floating body of a dead waterbird

whose song I am

only here to plagiarize: a lullaby

for my niece playing possum under a quilt

of withering grass.

Martins Deep (he/him) is an Urhobo poet based in Zaria. He is a photographer, digital artist, & currently an undergraduate student of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. His most recent works have appeared or are forthcoming in Magma Poetry, Strange Horizons, FIYAH, Augur Magazine, Lolwe, 20.35 Africa, Fantasy Magazine, Josephine Quarterly, Anathema Magazine, & elsewhere. He doubles as a dreamer and fantasizes reincarnating as an owl, & a sleepy workaholic. He tweets @martinsdeep1


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