Obituary - Reggie Kyere

I ate at my parents'
house: rice and tomato
stew every Sunday morning
'til my father left
with a toothbrush, a Pepsodent
pressed to the middle
and a Geisha soap.
Mother said he had
a six-foot woman
in his leopard-skin bag.
I couldn't remember for I was four.
I now eat at my mother's
house: beans and ripe plantain
on Mondays, fufu and
palm-nut soup on Sundays.
A balanced diet, says mother.

But not all is balanced
in that old house
that leans like a tv pole
after heavy rains:
the chairs squeak -
a couple in dire need
of a walking stick,
the tables are wobbly -
and some have a foot
amputated. And did I tell you
about an uncle who died
leaving behind
a light-blue polo shirt,
size forty-five shoes
with wooden soles
that sit on one buttock,
and an old lantern:
said he got it from
Elmina castle.

I sit in his room
holding my size forty-two foot,
facing the bald head of Nkrumah,
an old wooden table
with a plastic limb,
some literature books
and an old lantern
to burn at midnight.
His shoes?
They are buried
six feet under the bed
with shoe polish and an old brush,
should he need to wear them.
Couldn't fit, shouldn't fit.
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