About this poet

Aracelis Girmay is the author of Kingdom Animalia (BOA Editions Ltd., 2011).

Consider the Hands that Write This Letter

Aracelis Girmay
	          after Marina Wilson

Consider the hands
that write this letter.
The left palm pressed flat against the paper,
as it has done before, over my heart,
in peace or reverence
to the sea or some beautiful thing
I saw once, felt once: snow falling
like rice flung from the giants' wedding,
or the strangest birds. & consider, then,
the right hand, & how it is a fist,
within which a sharpened utensil,
similar to the way I've held a spade,
match to the wick, the horse's reins, 
loping, the very fists
I've seen from the roads to Limay & Estelí.
For years, I have come to sit this way:
one hand open, one hand closed,
like a farmer who puts down seeds & gathers up
the food that comes from that farming.
Or, yes, it is like the way I've danced
with my left hand opened around a shoulder
& my right hand closed inside
of another hand. & how
I pray, I pray for this
to be my way: sweet
work alluded to in the body's position
to its paper:
left hand, right hand
like an open eye, an eye closed:
one hand flat against the trapdoor,
the other hand knocking, knocking.

From Teeth by Aracelis Girmay. Copyright © 2007 by Aracelis Girmay. Used by permission of Curbstone Press.

From Teeth by Aracelis Girmay. Copyright © 2007 by Aracelis Girmay. Used by permission of Curbstone Press.

Aracelis Girmay

Aracelis Girmay is the author of Kingdom Animalia (BOA Editions Ltd., 2011).

by this poet

poem
When I get the call about my brother,
I'm on a stopped train leaving town
& the news packs into me—freight—
though it's him on the other end
now, saying finefine—

Forfeit my eyes, I want to turn away
from the hair on the floor of his house
& how it got there Monday,
but my one heart falls
like a

collected in

collection
Elizabeth Bishop and