two sets of little feet shuffle
in a sea of periwinkle shells,
keenly taking lessons
on patience and deception
from scruffy fishermen in Orerokpe.
sustenance as a bait for sustenance.
if death has no allure to the living
-little brother squirms when
a worm wriggles in his grasp-
why then do damaged men
pour from a bridge into the deep?
hook ready, the fish folk signal
for silence to wash over us,
each breath metered as though
a tasting of fine wine before a feast.
our offering to the river is a painful wait
for the tugging of the line.
brother rises as though in a trance
and plunges into the river
viscosity shows no spine
as the film of oil breaks
and the black adorns him in its sheen.
I still remember not flinching,
nerves of steel, or shock,
or simply dearth of common sense,
until he was baptized three times.
to this day mother still chides
about a siren’s unanswered call.