“It’s the best thing I’ve found in 31 years of diving: the spot
where a centuries-old shipwreck lay hidden under the water
for more than 200 years.” —Maurice Belgrave
You can tell, the violence that keeps a boat afloat
has nothing to do with fuel.
your paddle of a hand worrying the hostile tide,
before taking the storm in one scoop.
the vessel—still, belly ovoid & sunken
till it leaks its way towards destruction.
kayaks cost an arm, to keep it well behaved
in that polite wind.
you can tell apart risk taking from its caretaker.
the way the second combines craftsmanship & luck,
rowing accident to acceleration—where
speed = Distance + the number of times the boat topples:
these twelve seethed capsize, like disciples in a water
Christ has been commanding stillness into.
A river is God’s brightest trap.
you can tell, the way it mirrors wreckage & warmth,
consumes fluently a loin that torches,
sneaking luminescence into sullen deprived hands.
the footage cut short,
because a staff in some broken state said so.
& even the most damned thing deserves some privacy.
cupping a handful from the ruptured boat;
as if summoning a life evidence.
It’s the best thing I’ve found in my 31 years
the journalist said to his colleagues.
and in the airshots of the staff, blurted
“how measurable is the wreck.”
Nnadi Samuel (he/him/his) holds a B.A in English & Literature from the University of Benin. His works have been previously published/forthcoming in Suburban Review, Seventh Wave Magazine, NativeSkin lit Magazine, North Dakota Quarterly, Quarterly West, FIYAH, Fantasy Magazine, Uncanny Magazine, The Deadlands, Common Wealth Writers, The Capilano Review, Lolwe, The Spectacle Magazine, and elsewhere. Nnadi is the winner of the Canadian Open Drawer Contest 2020 and the International Human Rights Arts Festival Award (IHRAF), New York 2021. He is the author of Reopening of Wounds and Subject Lessons (forthcoming). He tweets @Samuelsamba10.