Conversation with the Sea Adaeze M. Nwadike

Conversation with the Sea

Since the beginning of 2014, 19,000 people have died attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea to Europe. Untallied others disappear without a trace

I sit in this boat, rehearsing a new anthem,
Clutching my mother’s promise to sail behind, should the sea get turbulent
The farewell songs from yesterday echo behind like dirges.
And every distance covered by this boat distills the imagery of my death.
But I have spent half my life at the immigration center,
Carried my passport for so long it became a body part.

You only ditch the airport for the sea, when you wear many problems
you weigh so much to fly.
And this country;
To survive in this country is like
That Jesus’ metaphor of a carmel passing through a needle’s eye.

The sailor said I won’t be needing papers,
And I cut off the passport like an arm, fling it overboard
And the sea turns an ombré of water and blood.
It is better to enter the kingdom of God deformed than be whole in hell.

The sea is a melancholy,
The bodies of drowned men and ferries plunge their ways to shore.
A dove drops from the sky and begins to sink, and sail—like us,
To another country, that will open and swallow it

“The ferries will dance tonight”
A boy said to his mother, his voice vibrating like he swallowed a guitar.
I open myself to the crescendo of his voice and to the anthem in my mouth,
And I say,
I am a citizen left behind,
The land isn’t safe anymore,
Hide me.
Hide me.

Adaeze M. Nwadike




Adaeze M. Nwadike is a Nigerian writer and teacher. Her works have appeared or are forthcoming in many notable magazines in Nigeria and the diaspora. She is currently working on a collection of poems that explores the experiences of women migrating to Europe through the Mediterranean Sea.

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