To the Ghost Father Tried to Bury

by Ifeoluwa Ayandele

There was this shoelace you knotted
like a crucifix. You wanted your shoes to carry its
own cross like you did on your neck. —& after

we removed the rope from your neck, tied to
to a ceiling fan; your breast pocket had a note:
leave a wooden cross at the head of my tombstone.

We forgot you were leaving: remember. —& the
almond tree in the garden held butterflies under-
neath its leaves: waiting. As father dug your grave,

butterflies held your flicker to the window panes.
—& we remembered: leave a wooden cross
at the head of my tombstone.

You were a ghost father tried to bury in our own
crucifix: love. The letters of the crucifix formed
the ajar door & the panes through the garden of

butterflies. —& mom said: we will live in a cloud
of butterflies—a city of crucifix, in colours—
for a god left his shoes in our home.

Ifeoluwa Ayandele is a Nigerian poet whose poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Burning House Press, Kin Poetry Journal, Neologism Poetry Journal, Kalahari Review, Tuck Magazine, Brittle Paper, and elsewhere. He tweets @IAyandele.

Artwork by: Alex Stolis

Alex lives in Minneapolis.