When I get the call about my brother,
I'm on a stopped train leaving town
& the news packs into me—freight—
though it's him on the other end
now, saying finefine—
Forfeit my eyes, I want to turn away
from the hair on the floor of his house
& how it got there Monday,
but my one heart falls
like a sad, fat persimmon
dropped by the hand of the Turczyn's old tree.
I want to sleep. I do not want to sleep. See,
one day, not today, not now, we will be gone
from this earth where we know the gladiolas.
My brother, this noise,
some love [you] I loved
with all my brain, & breath,
will be gone; I've been told, today, to consider this
as I ride the long tracks out & dream so good
I see a plant in the window of the house
my brother shares with his love, their shoes. & there
he is, asleep in bed
with this same woman whose long skin
covers all of her bones, in a city called Oakland,
& their dreams hang above them
a little like a chandelier, & their teeth
flash in the night, oh, body.
Oh, body, be held now by whom you love.
Whole years will be spent, underneath these impossible stars,
when dirt's the only animal who will sleep with you
& touch you with
"Kingdom Animalia" from Kingdom Animalia by Aracelis Girmay. Copyright © 2011 by Aracelis Girmay. Reprinted by permission of the publisher, BOA Editions.