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Elegy

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What to do with this knowledge
that our living is not guaranteed?

Perhaps one day you touch the young branch
of something beautiful. & it grows & grows
despite your birthdays & the death certificate,
& it one day shades the heads of something beautiful
or makes itself useful to the nest. Walk out
of your house, then, believing in this.
Nothing else matters.

All above us is the touching
of strangers & parrots,
some of them human,
some of them not human.

Listen to me. I am telling you
a true thing. This is the only kingdom.
The kingdom of touching;
the touches of the disappearing, things.

Aracelis Girmay, "Elegy" 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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Elegy

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  • 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 new and old ways of thinking about power. Of how we’ve been taught to think by our families, institutions, television, computer culture, etc. [….] Perhaps the so-called hybrid poems are about dislocating or splintering the central lens.”
     
    Her poetry collections include Teeth (2007), Kingdom Animalia (2011), and The Black Maria (2016), named a “Top Poetry Pick” by Publisher's Weekly, O Magazine, and Library Journal. She is also the author of the collage-based picture book...

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