The Dream

By Aracelis Girmay Aracelis Girmay
Last night, all night
the dream, the dead
mother, my small sister,
tiny, her mouth
over my shoulder
(screaming) like a knapsack
when she heard the news,
& my brother playing
the stereo. I howled
like the coyotes; myself.
& saw the light outside
below the window, my mother,
young, playing with me
at a rock, in some sunlight
falling over us. I was small.
An old & famous woman
asked her questions:
Who wrote this dream?
I wanted to know.
My brother thought
it was our mother
who wrote it
when she was old.
She did not die, he thought.
But I knew, & called down
to the cotton-head of her then, when
she could not see or hear me.
She would never hear me.
I was not capable of talking
then, yet, & she had died,
after all, & the mother
I call to tell the dream
will not remember, after all
she was not born then, yet,
& needed the first mother to die
before she could use her name
& feed her children.

Aracelis Girmay, "The Dream" from Kingdom Animalia. Copyright © 2011 by Aracelis Girmay.  Reprinted by permission of BOA Editions, Ltd. www.boaeditions.org

Source: Kingdom Animalia (BOA Editions, Ltd., 2011)

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Poet Aracelis Girmay

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Subjects Living, Parenthood, Sorrow & Grieving, Relationships, Family & Ancestors

 Aracelis  Girmay

Biography

Born and raised in Santa Ana, California, poet Aracelis Girmay earned a BA at Connecticut College and an MFA from New York University. Her poems trace the connections of transformation and loss across cities and bodies.
 
In her 2011 online chat interview with the Rumpus Poetry Book Club, Girmay discussed innovative and hybrid poetric forms, stating, “I wonder what new explorations of form might have to do with documenting the . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Parenthood, Sorrow & Grieving, Relationships, Family & Ancestors

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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