The night shreds us apart amidst shouting light & insomnia ravages me. I remain indecisive in my want: "to leave or not to live between shoreless borders." I stay up, waterlogged in red & a tummy bloat. as a routine, I ransack the remains of me & it yields an eye patch. the collected water reveals: the distance between sunk bodies & a flotsam is a paddle, the word for drowning begins with stiffness. what is not staying afloat comes out in a body bag. we lend our loins to osmosis. to say you have arms here, is to stretch them beyond limit— sporting the bright surface of water. back stroke is survival skill: a posture memorized from birth. I found novel styles in my bid to outlive breathlessness, fashion my rib into a failsafe device. I go into every accident—headfirst. the cesspit claimed by frogs is an ancestral heirloom. in the gutters of my imagination, I debunk the cloud, unnaming the ashes. I choose to be something sky-hitting. when we happen on scrap metals, we invent toy boats from them. the raw beam of fireflies, illuminating our deeds. our thumbprints, swallowing rust & browning under light: a lesson in colours. we taught our bodies to torture ropes into fishing nets. I breathe all through the knotting, till the day turns slippery as something to be caught
Nnadi Samuel (he/him/his) holds a B.A in English & Literature from the University of Benin. Author of ‘Nature knows a little about Slave Trade’ selected by Tate N. Oquendo (Sundress Publication, 2023). A 3x Best of the Net, and 7x Pushcart Nominee. He tweets @Samuelsamba10.