after Chigozie Obioma

We went off to the river after the roosters had woken the world to consciousness;
had we falcons harkened to the voice of the falconer turning in the widening gyre,
then we would not have been here.

But what had we to fear? We knew the river from its cradle,
we loved the river calm and gentle, we cherished her offerings large and little.

What had we to fear?
we were heroes, catchers of big dreams, the unstoppable fishermen.

But that was until yesterday,
before they uprooted the sacred tree at the centre of the river path
before the market was set on fire and things fell apart.

Yesterday, we harvested the corpse of a woman,
her breasts and eyes were missing;
the limbs of history were dismembered.

Now the court is seated beneath the oak tree at the market square,
the witnesses have been asked to come forward,
on the lips of the adulterous pastor’s wife lingers a well-known ditty;
there are fishes that should never be caught.

The lunatic has been given a revelation; a prophecy sits at the tip of his tongue;
the widow is one foot away from bearing false witness
and these fishermen are an invocation away
from becoming baits for the biggest catch of their lives.

—Soonest Nathanial