Martins Deep

A Painting Where My Brothers are Flowers with Gun Wounds
(for the victims of the Lekki Tollgate massacre)

I saw lilies stiff against the rhythm of a dry season
and his woodwind was quickly carved into a sickle;
His hands of steel plucked the sun
and hung a blood moon.

My brothers were lilies—
they smelt rain from afar,
and became discontent with the spittle of peasants.

My brothers were those flowers left  
to photosynthesize the tactical lights of firearms;
those blown kisses from the mouths of guns;
whose petals dyed mother's eyes bloodshot.

They sang, before their fall— the song 
piper could not sing with a mouth wet with dryness.

How they sang— a song of drunken elixir 
from the tepid streamlets of their eyes;
one born to endlessly echo in the empty barn of our household.

With a chest full of granite,
it was easy to vomit obstacles against ambulances—
and to turn their signal lights into strobes 
for a party of screams and shatter.
It was easy to pool— for whiteout— the milk
they sucked from their mothers' breasts,
easy for an erasure of testimonies inked with blood,
on the white of our flags, and the black of tarred roads.

They call it 'blank bullets',
but in my palms are canines dug out from a lifeless body.
I dig out one more from the birthmark of a star.


Martins Deep (he/him) is a Nigerian poet, artist, & and currently a student at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. His works deeply explores the African experience of the boy/girl child. His creative works have appeared, or are forthcoming on FIYAH, The Roadrunner Review, Covert Literary Magazine, Barren Magazine, Cream City Review, Mineral Lit Mag, Agbowó Magazine, Surburban Review, Crow & Cross Keys, FERAL, Jet Fuel Review, Kalopsia Literary Journal, Whaleroad Review, Kalahari Review, & elsewhere. He loves jazz, adores Bethel Music and fantasizes reincarnating as an owl. He tweets @martinsdeep1