Brian Gyamfi

Brian Gyamfi

Last Rites

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.