i. your day begins coffee croissant a kiss at the door hunch over the keyboard lost in the landscape of your head ii. but there is more a family flees Mogadishu in a truck in Nador a man skirts the muezzin’s call a woman soothes the heart of her man in Juba a boy tells his dad about motley lights beyond Awka a girl quits the plains of Asmara a horseman ferries his woman through the dunes of Dirkou each blinded by the shimmering across the sea the shimmer of Spain iii. from the rooftop a son maps the stars longing for what’s across the sea he’s dreamt of plenty he’s dreamt of what’s on the other side where the plums look redder than the sun within reach any hand could reach out & pluck the giant tender sun its redness in the face of the sea across the sea he’s been told there is more there’s more plums for one mouth & plums rot plums rot in plenty & he’s dreamt his mouth brim with juices of a different plum iv. in the doorway a daughter measures the hours in her mother’s breaths how much longer she prods the wind dreaming of peers charmed to the other side where the apples look redder than the sun within reach any hand could reach out & pluck the giant tender sun its redness in the face of the sea across the sea she’s been told there is more there’s more apples for one mouth & apples rot apples rot in plenty & she’s dreamt her mouth brim with juices of a different apple v. one brother pawns his family’s amber the shadows bear the slink of his steps across the medina the twenty-four years he’s known a blur one sister slips out the hedges the naira warm between her breasts like her twin sister she thinks it’s best her father is best left by himself vi. in Garabulli bodies bloat on the beach some drift into Tarifa where pink carnations await odd remains the surf of Trafalgar has washed away the shapes of love in the sands washes afresh what's left of a three-year-old whose parents no one can retrieve but an old lady drops lilies at its blistered feet in Bodrum a girl looks asleep in the sand face sunk an inch half of it gnawed by fish only her parents know the span of agony vii. under the low sun of Karpas the gleam and shale of dusk a boat bobs empty next to a body by a buoy another body has seaweed in its mouth one has froth between its eyelids a photographer steadies his hands framing in a lens the mess crabs & shrimps have made of flesh the image may not rouse boys & girls stamping down the city hall a beachcomber dawdles before him & says a shell holds a memory of water but the sea is sanctuary for some viii. an uncle in Zarzis who’s known the heart of the sea the dark belly laugh of water lays out headstones behind a grove of olives a tourist car trundles by a boy says mira papa hay un cementerio his dad stuns him with an eye from the front seat an aunt unmoved by the loops of gulls above speaks of children of a time lost the echoes of distant waves ix. half-risen from fatigue a coastguard lists at the liquid edge his mind a funnel of last week’s exhibit of coffins bare of bodies close by a nun chokes her dream of mermaids & their stash of bones stumbles shoeless through driftwood touching a rosary to her lips x. on a cliff in Lesbos a priest stands & chants Lampedusa is a path of bones (Sweet Mother of God) Lampedusa is a path of bones (Sweet Mother of God) & the Middle Sea builds the Middle Sea builds its own body of bones its own city of bones.
About the Author:
Uchechukwu Peter Umezurike holds a PhD from the University of Alberta, Canada. An alumnus of the International Writing Program (USA), Umezurike has published his critical writing in Journal of African Cultural Studies, Tydskrif vir Letterkunde, Postcolonial Text, Cultural Studies, and Cambridge Journal of Postcolonial Literary Inquiry. Umezurike is a co-editor of Wreaths for Wayfarers, an anthology of poems. His books Wish Maker (a children’s novel) and Double Wahala, Double Trouble (a short story collection) are forthcoming from Masobe Books, Nigeria and Griots Lounge Publishing, Canada, respectively, in fall 2021.