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Recorded for Poem-a-Day, April 12, 2018.
About this Poem 

“My son is my father. My father, my son. Inextricably bound. (Simultaneity and version.) I say ‘doorless’ to mean ‘without thresholds, houses, or rooms.’ Here I am listening toward a porous world where everything is reachable—all the versions of the beloveds, though perhaps in new form. I'm trying for the poem to be both a record of near-loss and a ritual of reaching through grief toward a knowledge that something persists. Line breaks reveal instructions, ceremonial materials, prayers, plea, peripheries, our companies. Probably I will be writing this poem for the rest of my life.”
—Aracelis Girmay

Ceremony for Remembering the Doorless World

                                        October

             where three we-horses mark ground,
turn snake our necks inside the guayla circle. My aranci,

             —etan, childfox
                                    out my fourth mouth, you drank
                          
                      then the year went dark

                      & our own flowers & fires & what we thought we were

though, still, our faces opened to
              the whooping of coyotes

at the canyon rim,
                          how they throw their voices out,

              falling, starless veils of lace
                            over our still, black heads.

                            Awake I sit sentried with all my Sight
& the purple fennel musting after rain.
               This hour

                             Become my canyon, become my bottom of the 
     world
listening for your breaths—to ward off nonbreath.

    Parent, my son—My son,
                          a flicker barely

               born. Already

withstand the blanched eye of our grief

               One morning with our faces crying into
the arroyo it answers:
               Once there were no doors.
                                 No doors on earth, not a single one.

               —so when I listen I
still hear you still kicking the ball,

               laughing as you say the story of endurance.

               & the women flutter their flickering tongues
                         a flock of sound suddenly aflight to be,
               for you, both here & further

                        they throw their voicebirds over the births

                        so we are three & simultaneous earths inside
               your coil of fatherhair to which I press my ear to hear
the histories, then the bell

               Then the whirl  The whir
                             of doctors above your beds,
               your noiseless struggle to be.

                                                       Stay.        Say. 
              
You are my Heres & Furthers
               Daddy, now I join the mothers

                    Remember, when you were a little boy
                             I used to hold you?

Copyright © 2018 by Aracelis Girmay. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 12, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2018 by Aracelis Girmay. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 12, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

Aracelis Girmay

Aracelis Girmay

Aracelis Girmay was born and raised in Santa Ana, California. She received a BA from Connecticut College in 1999 and went on to earn an MFA in poetry from New York University.

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   Body of sight. Body of
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Beloved, to
day you eat,
today you bathe, today
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Today you walk,
today you read,
today you paint, my love,

Today you study stars,
today you write,
today you

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The beauty of one sister
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she carried them into
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When the boys are carnivals
we gather round them in the dark room
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ricochet against their bodies & thin air
below the white ceiling hung up like a moon
& it is California, the desert. I am driving in a car,
clapping my hands for the