I’ve watched an old man climb
a mango tree to pick mangoes for his dog.
My friend digs up low burdens
with his shovel & carries chickens around.
The chickens, for example, aren’t indigenous.
Yesterday’s onions, for instead,
aren’t today’s. The tulip & the apple tree
die despite their convictions
to the rain & still there is something strange
about sculpting with toilet paper.
I considered buying another roll for the bedroom.
Art, red, & good hygiene.
A Finnish speaker holds in her air. She gives
an aspirin to the low gods. This is
how stones turn into air. The sun is weary,
as it continues to play with its light
magic. Three pigeons in the pool,
& a waxed man climbing in. My friend whispers:
the secret of good rice is cinnamon. Imagine
somewhere else the story builds
on the premise of a dug-up hole. I watch
the old man’s dog follow scraps
of sunlight & vanish. I raise my head
& crawl towards the mango tree.
BRIAN GYAMFI is a Ghanaian American writer from Arlington, Texas. He is a recipient of two Hopwood Awards and a finalist for the Oxford Poetry Prize and the Poetry International Prize. He graduated Summa Cum Laude from UT Austin and is currently a Zell Fellow at the University of Michigan.