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.



~ by Aracelis Girmay

* “Elegy” from Kingdom Animalia.
Copyright © 2011 by Aracelis Girmay.  Reprinted by permission of BOA Editions, Ltd.