Come to the waters
a petal opens up into the
arms of one april morning.
it was my father, calling me
to come to the waters
to see with his eyes.
i forgot to begin this poem
with a eulogy, a death song
of a father who bellied the aches
of a lonely mother & carried it to
a grave full of bones & a cavity of dust.
then i begin with a ritual;
a girl who woke up into
dark stains on the pages
of her skin & the outbreak
of fire in her eyes.
i forgot to title this poem
"the bitterness of a bloated father"
but i remember that i was born with
a swollen body & there was salt
on my tongue.
so i continue with my body as a sanctuary
& my mother's silence; inordinate utterances
before a wrecking wind.
we have found home in the mouth of a father
who retreats before naming his children after a war.
i sail into an ocean with my fingernails
digging into the memory in your skull.
i am tired of living in this house
that stinks of ruin & blood.
i am tired of screaming into
every night like a lost lamp
this april, a petal will open up
into the arms of the morning
& it will be my father whispering
son, come to the waters.
Ayomide Festus is a Nigerian poet. His works have been published or forthcoming in Icefloe press, eunoia review, quality poets review, after the pause quarterly review, errata oribhabor monthly review and elsewhere.