An ocean runs in reverse into the eyes of those who wept it. in the sound of their restless flow, mockingbirds ask us, speaking the language of loss, what worth it was trading life for shadows, cinder— why we let thousands die then, hold a séance as if we have no shame, no guilt asking for rain from those whose teeth have become ploughshares. Our fathers planted trees, but we fell them to park our self- drive cars— trees whose leaves were letters of appeal delivered, but always unread, around our rusty mailboxes. Somewhere, a hand flips the switch, & a light bulb comes on in an interrogation room. the ghost of an uncle seated in front of me, asks: what have you done...what have you... In another place, another hand flips a switch on, & black light wets my terra cotta face before a homeless child's. i cup its tenderness with my palms asking for forgiveness. there is none to give. at a corner in the scene, a hand re-writes the theory of evolution with a pen ceasing at the spelling of איש (man) In a nightmare, a wounded soldier drinks polluted water. leaning against an anthill his fingers grope in the dark to touch the feet of mercy. he feels nothing. He kneels, cries "help me", but a volcanic mountain censors it with an eruption. At the opening of his mouth, owls fly into his throat. Prayer from his unwashed mouth pours out as chlorine, depletes the ozone layer, & UV light burns his body. Gravity, it was you who dropped apples in our lap. It was you, mother of the many fallen, removed from the breast of sky & glory, but now, it rains shrapnels & hailstones over our heads from metallic dragonflies. I remove a bullet from the soldier's flesh etched with his country's coat of arms, & weep. i weep. On the branch of a tree with roots writhing underneath earth, a wounded girl sings to her dead cat, & as she sleeps, mercy tucks her under a quilt of moss.
Martins Deep (he/him) is a poet based in Kaduna, Nigeria. He is a photographer, digital artist, & currently an undergraduate student of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. He is a Pushcart nominee & a Best of The Net finalist, ’22. His most recent works have appeared—or are forthcoming— in Magma Poetry, Strange Horizons, FIYAH, Barren Magazine, Lolwe, 20.35 Africa: An Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, & elsewhere. If he’s not out taking photographs, fantasizing about reincarnating as an owl in a room he barely leaves, he’s tweeting on a newsboy hat @martinsdeep1.
Margarita Gokun Silver is an artist living in Madrid, Spain. Her work has been exhibited in Spain and in the US and reproductions of her paintings have been published in many art/literary magazines. Fun fact: Deepak Chopra once re-tweeted a visual of her painting to his followers with a comment “I love this”. Find her work at www.margaritagokunsilver.com.