St. Elizabeth

I run high in my body
on the road toward sea.

I fall in love. The things
the wind is telling me.

The yellow sky quiet
in her quiet dress.

Old birds sending news
from the reddish hills.

& the one hawk flying
in the distance overhead.

That hawk is what
the wind says. In love

with the heaving
of my peacock chest,

with my lungs, two wings,
such flying things,

but mine for now, just for now
as I open my stride

above the good, dirt road,
fall in love with the mustard

& coriander dust,
& the far, far mountain

beveled by light, by rain,
the easy eye of the sun, now,

smoke floating across the hillside
like a face I knew once very well.

Very well, I fall in love
with the flowers & the wash

hung like prayer flags, see,
in red Juanita's yard. In love

with the earth the color of earth. In
love with the goats, their bellies & hooves,

& the goat mouths bleating
as they greet me on the road.

I fall in love. How they wear
their strange & double-eyes.

How they do not blink
or laugh at me

or say a thing I understand
when I ask them in my English,

because they circle around my feet,
as if they always knew me,

Were you my children once?
Did I know your names?

Oh, little magics?
Little children?

Aracelis Girmay, "St. Elizabeth" 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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