One heated summer when it was clear the world was ending,
but no one knew —
This is how it went that the people reclaimed themselves:
We went about, oblivious like we always did,
in conviction of our own helplessness,
aware that the sea was rising, but saying the land will rise to meet,
aware that the sea was emptying of food, but saying,
the sea will bring us a better harvest than before.
There were no riots in the streets,
no calculated plots to blow up our Parliaments, one by one
till we the people could reclaim our rights to our own creation.
We did forget that we are part of the sea,
that to remove ourselves from the flow of the currents,
thinking to take and take and take and not give back was good and natural,
thinking that the seas at our shores stretching beyond sight
didn’t reach a similar shore of similar people.
When the lights went out in our overcrowded cities,
the water eating away at our coastlines
that had long become paradise-parades of
the same white sand,
the same old lady braiding hair with swollen knuckles,
the same young men selling mamey sapote,
the same gleaming hatchet slashing the crowns of coconuts,
gleaming with our water of life,
it should have come as no surprise
that in the end there would only be the sea,
still, resplendent, motionless,
if we did not reclaim our water.
The reclamation began with the people,
different groups, all at once,
bearing the hope of their people,
embracing that while we were not independent
we are in dependence to each other.
Remembering, it is water that connects not divides
that water is a bridge
that water is a book with no end.
I climbed onto land, wringing my brackish hair
dry, like I was squeezing sour over fish
gasping for air. The refuse: splintered
wood, shattered concrete, twisted trees.
I wrapped my body in this ruination,
I took oil to sheen my skin, gasoline-perfumed,
sweet-flies wafting on these dead things.
Their kisses seeding my interior,
a nest of plastic and maggots,
keeping the chill from my coral-eaten bones.
I stumbled over empty crab-holes,
fell into the petrified arms of
casuarinas & sea-grape trees
their wizened flesh slow-cooked,
my skin burned with their salt.
There, in that sunned after-glow
of destruction, I emerged from the littoral,
went back into the City, drowned & living.
Ide Amari Thompson is a senior at the University of The Bahamas studying English and History. His work tends to focus on questions of place and person, identity and what it means to personally and socially inhabit different shifting ideas and circles. He grapples with questions of colonialism, independence, nation, identity and love. His primary medium is written works particularly poetry. His written work has appeared in the PREE online journal, the first issue of Onyx magazine in 2018 a creative journal for diasporic black writers based in the UK and in the NE9 exhibition “The Fruit & The Seed” and “ REFUGE” (2019) both exhibited by the National Art Gallery Of the Bahamas. He also was a participant in the NAGB’s DoubleDutch exhibition “Hot Water” In 2018.