After the last boat, carrying with it
the birth of dusk, had rowed in, we
ran towards it. Every hand outstretched
was an act of welcoming, of pulling the
boat to shore. we know the boatman’s feet,
having stayed long at sea, will always thirst
for the warmth of sands. The fisherman gave to us
what he had to give to us: a body whitened
by water. In the sea’s argument, there is
something inside a Nigerian body always begging
for rest. A woman I do not quite know poured
her body into him. The moon dancing on the
water’s surface looked like a grave yawning.
From Uya Oro, the gospel of hope was drummed into
our ears; youths folded their rage into thumbprints,
into an act capable of magic; of the miracle of good
leadership. I, who knew the square root
of hope to be despair. I, who knew the pain of
praying inside fire turned to the fisherman and asked,
Do you believe in politics? he said, I believe in my net and
what the sea has to offer: the gift of fishes or bodies made tender
by years of resting. Hear me brothers, the elections have
come and gone and the news is here again with its dead
bodies. On a boat headed for Idenao, a boy asks me,
What will you tell the coming generation? What will you tell them
to do when country forces them to perform silence like the dead?
I looked at the water, the sun rippling over its surface.
I imagined the blue tilapias dancing in the sweet flow of
currents, a bull shark opening its mouth against a brown ray.
Then turned back to the boy, to the tender music of hope
beating in his eyes and said to him run.
Michael Imossan is the author of the award-winning poetry chapbook, For The Love of Country and Memory.