About this poet

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

Kingdom Animalia

Aracelis Girmay
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 sad, fat persimmon
dropped by the hand of the Turczyn's old tree.

I want to sleep. I do not want to sleep. See,

one day, not today, not now, we will be gone
from this earth where we know the gladiolas.
My brother, this noise,
some love [you] I loved
with all my brain, & breath,
will be gone; I've been told, today, to consider this
as I ride the long tracks out & dream so good

I see a plant in the window of the house
my brother shares with his love, their shoes. & there
he is, asleep in bed
with this same woman whose long skin
covers all of her bones, in a city called Oakland,
& their dreams hang above them
a little like a chandelier, & their teeth
flash in the night, oh, body.

Oh, body, be held now by whom you love.
Whole years will be spent, underneath these impossible stars,
when dirt's the only animal who will sleep with you
& touch you with
its mouth.

From Kingdom Animalia by Aracelis Girmay. Copyright © 2012 by Aracelis Girmay. Reprinted with permission of BOA Editions. All rights reserved.

From Kingdom Animalia by Aracelis Girmay. Copyright © 2012 by Aracelis Girmay. Reprinted with permission of BOA Editions. All rights reserved.

Aracelis Girmay

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

by this poet

poem
	          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