The night before he walked into the sea,
coffee spilled in my father’s shirt
and he begged me to help him
take off the regalia of his troubled mind.
Father confessed that he failed to embrace
stubborn dreams of perpetual energy;
feared he would leave the world
without delivering power
to the touch of teeming millions.
The old soldier listened keenly
while the Atlantic replayed
the philosophy of salt.
From our balcony
he could see the waves,
eye fixed like an old poet
waiting for his young lover
surfing upon the tides;
but she had strayed –
too far into the offing;
there is no returning from that place
where the sea kisses the sky.
At dawn, the news filtered in through the windows,
the conservatives said father did not die
the way honest men should;
so he won’t be buried in his father’s compound.
They left his body
in the forbidden forest,
and hung his head on the poles used to mark boundaries.
A few market days after,
I watched the bone people and midnight’s children
gather to share the inheritance of loss,
gather to savour the remains of the day.
I watched them harvest honey from the hull of father’s skull
where a swarm of bees had settled and made combs.
I tried to bark like they say men should, but it was no use;
for the hunger in the eyes of the disappointed
knows nothing of shame nor honor.
Soonest Nathaniel is a Poet and spoken word artist. He is the author of “Teaching My Father How To Impregnate Women,” selected as winner of the 2017 RL Poetry Award. He was poet Laureate for 2014 Korea Nigeria Poetry Festival. His poems appear or are forthcoming in Rattle, Silver Blade, The Pedestal Magazine, FIYAH, Silver Blade Poetry, Northridge Review, Praxis Mag, Raven Chronicles, Wiki Column, Saraba, Loudthotz, Northridge Review, Reverbnation, Elsewhere, Scintilla, Erbacce UK, Kalahari Review, Sentinel Nigeria, and Many more.