May the poems be
the little snail's trail.
Everywhere I go,
every inch: quiet record
of the foot’s silver prayer.
I lived once.
It was here.
Until further notice Poetry Daily will devote Wednesdays to What Keeps Us, an impromptu series featuring poems that sustain and uplift through trying times. Each poem is accompanied with an image by author-illustrator Juana Medina (http://www.juanamedina.com). We thank you for reading and hope that you will share poems with your friends and neighbors. Please be well.
Copyright © 2011 by Aracelis Girmay
from Kingdom Animalia, BOA Editions, Ltd. 2011
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission.
Aracelis Girmay is the author of three collections of poetry: the black maria (BOA Editions, 2016); Kingdom Animalia (BOA Editions, 2011), winner of the 2011 Isabella Gardner Poetry Award and the GLCA New Writers Award, and a finalist for both the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award; and Teeth (Curbstone Press, 2007). The recipient of fellowships from Cave Canem, Civitella Ranieri, and the National Endowment for the Arts, Girmay is the winner of a 2015 Whiting Award for Poetry. She teaches in Hampshire College’s School for Interdisciplinary Arts and Drew University’s low-residency MFA program in poetry.
Winner of the 2011 Isabella Gardner Poetry Award
“There is a saying in Spanish, ‘Cada cabeza es un mundo,’ which translates ‘every mind is a universe unto itself.’ And Girmay’s world, universe, opens new ways of seeing the simplest things and giving them voice. Everything contains some clue of another self, body or kindred spirit. Like an archaeologist, she digs deeply finding herself in every living thing, even in the inanimate. Her magic is poetry at its best.”
—National Book Critics Circle
“A cunning consideration of mortality, humanity, and the responsibility of the voice that bears witnesses...”
—Los Angeles Review
"[Girmay’s] project seems to be our deep and ongoing subjectivity, our vulnerability to history, to one another, to desire, and to the belief in something large and lasting that we might belong to. There’s empathy, play, and fearlessness here, and both formal and emotional range. The beauty of these poems is always married to a deep, implacable pang. Their consolation is always rooted in the unifying force of remembered loss.”
—Whiting Award Judges