Brian Francis

There Weren’t Many Asking How

the boy with fast hands grows into a man
with crooked fingers  I crumble  petals
adorn amber feet   almost out of grasp
superstition       our precious metal 
prove us    the path   ascension unsettles
lesser men     our language     these crude tools
there weren’t enough lessons on        the levels
we climb     to remain completely unmoved
the spirit catches     midflight and confused
flailing    the speech in (or with) a chewed tongue
bawling through the expanse    does it amuse
you    an exchange on the wrong rung     who with
what poor service     cautious of self    I ask
to what current       could I be conduit



After Rio Cortez

I sink     my teeth into whatever
bucks in the distance     flocks 
circling   dirtied dusk blankets
the field growing too wild 

for a scarecrow looking 
like they can be picked 
& carried    right off 
this too small island      a knot 

not yet loose     livestock made
reversible   under night’s watch   I count
grains in the heap     wait 
consider naming each     let them fall 

between fingers then upturn     my hand
call what is left 
our constellation     black canvas palm
against stretched flesh   Jasmine wants 

to dance but a Jumbie ain’t got no feet
to race to river’s edge    a vanishing act
a too broad smile    slips & cracks
in corners


Brian Francis is a Cave Canem fellow from New York City. He has a BA in Creative Nonfiction from the University of Pittsburgh and an MFA in Poetry from NYU. He lives and teaches English Language Arts to middle school students in his native Harlem, USA.