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from THE BLACK MARIA

By Aracelis Girmay

   Body of sight. Body of
   breaths. Body of trying.

Beloved, to
day you eat,
today you bathe, today
you laugh

Today you walk,
today you read,
today you paint, my love,

Today you study stars,
today you write,
today you climb the stairs,

Today you run,
today you see,
today you talk,

You cut the basil
You sweep the floor

& as you chore, touch
the ankles & hairs of your befores
who look up from their work
in the field or at the chisel
to tell you in their ways: You Live!

Added: Friday, December 25, 2015  /  Used with permission.
Aracelis Girmay
Photo by Sheila Griffin.

Aracelis Girmay is the author of the collage-based book changing, changing, and the poetry collections Teeth and Kingdom Animalia. Her newest book, The Black Maria, was published in 2016. She went to school at Cave Canem, Acentos, NYU, Community~Word Project, and Bar 13. She has been awarded the GLCA New Writers Award and the Isabella Gardner Award (BOA Editions), and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Girmay is on the faculty of The School for Interdisciplinary Arts at Hampshire College and Drew University’s low-residency MFA program. Before that, and for several years, Girmay taught community and youth writing workshops. She was a featured poet at Split This Rock Poetry Festival in 2016. For more information, visit Girmay’s website.

Other poems by this author