Martins Deep

Days of Grass
because i trust a little telling won’t hurt

Days of Grass

At 70, you're half the ghost incense never repelled

In the mirror, you're seeing
your form break into mists—
body squeezed into the en dash
between sunrise and dusk

Everyday, you're realizing the wind
is life gently moulting your skin
into autumn leaves;
your Kilimanjaro shoulders,
they're shrinking into anthills;
your chest, a bata drum to be beaten
with the pistil of a hibiscus— 
your dancers, few and fireless in their bones

Once, mama's voice was a fusillade of ironwood splinters
shot at the fresh plantain leaves
that were the floodgates of your eyes.
once, your chest was a sheer fabric
before papa's eyes. now, he reaches
for Jacob's silken voice and touches Esau's hairy skin

you're holding the branch of this felled tree
and seeing a third limb;
you're staring at the dewdrops from a leaf
and seeing the recipes of an elixir of life
dripping away between your fingers;

you're sniffing grass on your skin,
each exhalation, northeasterly trade winds.

because i trust a little telling won’t hurt

a. the yellow sun— sinking
   into her watery deathbed—
   reminded me of Audi's eyes.
   his gasps filtered into me a hymn
   mimicked sweetly by nightingales.

   i guess memory, too, is a form of seance.

b. using a mobile app, a photo editor,
    little brother healed the scar 
    close to his right eye & posted it on Instagram.
    once, i caught him shattering our mirror on the wall
    & he offered me his supper
    to keep it a secret. after eating it,
    i told on him. i never knew the broken
    mirror was a metaphor for my body.

c. during interment, thrice, i shoveled
— over the golden crucifix on father's casket—
    the damp clay heaped beside his grave.
    mother said she heard i didn't cry.
    i told her it wasn't father i buried.
    i never told her who.

MARTINS DEEP (he/him) is a budding Nigerian poet, artist, & and currently a student of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. His works deeply explores the African experience. His creative works have appeared, or are forthcoming on FIYAH, The Roadrunner Review, Barren Magazine, Cream City Review, Eunoia Review, Agbowó Magazine, Surburban Review, Twyckenham Notes, FERAL, Jet Fuel Review, Kissing Dynamite, Whaleroad Review, Kalahari Review, & elsewhere. He loves jazz, adores Amanda Cook, and fantasizes reincarnating as an owl. He tweets @martinsdeep1