A Funeral Hymn in Falsetto

‘Gbenga Adeoba
| poetry



On the night my grandfather rejected tea

and offered his last breath instead,

the earth shifted an inch.

And I listened out for a rustle of leaves

or a flash of thunder

amidst the wailers’ phonation.


At the funeral,

when the chorister sang

the paradise hymn in falsetto,

I imagined a brood of angels

heralding the arrival of my grandfather

who was migrating in a boat of glass.


It is a decade now,

and sighs have replaced hymns

in the order of memories.

The elegies too return to me

the way an empty alley

returns our gift of words in multiples.


Gbenga Adeoba’s poems have appeared/are forthcoming in Notre Dame Review, Hotel Amerika, Harpur Palate, and elsewhere. He’s received recognition and support from Callaloo and Kenyon Review Writers Workshop. He lives in Ilorin, Nigeria.

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