From a correspondence after suicide, 1984

Martins Deep

By Martins Deep

breathing became;
i. an act of emptying a cage cluttered with birdsong
that’ll never find an ear to nest;

ii. letting the wind sweep stars under carpet grass—
stars polished with saltwater
dripping from the horns of mama’s prayer altar.

i hold this paper throbbing with a rainmaker’s invocation
to dissolve the nimbus in my eyes into rain—
these eyes, whose lens, you wished to see through;
their radiance thawing the eclipse frozen in your chest.

i hold this letter with words so dark,
as if written with a quill plucked from Lucifer’s broken wing.
once you said, if he had fallen with his harp
you’d give anything to play it beside Yanni. anything.
this is why i’m studying archaeology, you joked.

it’s been two years now,
i read your happiest letters, but they taste briny in my mouth,
like the damp note mortem found under chike’s pillow.

from this clothesline in my dreamscape,
i want to steal you a body with wounds
that do not widen into exit doors.

say, i’ll try this one out, nna.

say, you’ll paint a mosaic of gazelles
skipping in the sun with the ash of your broken song.


Martins Deep (he/him) is a Nigerian poet, artist, & and currently a student of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. His works deeply explores the African experience of the boy/girl child. His creative works have appeared, or are forthcoming on FIYAH, The Roadrunner Review, Covert Literary Magazine, Barren Magazine, The Hellebore, Nantygreens, Mineral Lit Mag, Agbowó Magazine, Surburban Review, Crow & Cross Keys, FERAL, Kalopsia Literary Journal, Whaleroad Review, Kalahari Review, Qwerty, & elsewhere. He loves jazz, adores Bethel Music, and fantasizes reincarnating as an owl. He tweets @martinsdeep1


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