Issue #135 We knew

We knew

aracelis girmay

Issue #135
April 2023

We knew

There were people with us there where faces blur
people in us there
whose hands grip her hat and the walking stick he rows
us down that river also our people
in a calabash skirt

We knew there were people with us
dreaming inside the stones
who left our mouths as horses stroked with the light

And so mine too would find me

Once, just a few weeks after my love my love
(I am touching my throat)

he said to me at that fountain near La Caleta
that he didn’t see the point in us continuing on
unceremoniously just like that
I was so hurt so brokenboned of heart because
he was for me a kind of psychic love
and plain like that he said I don’t see the point
So for days I slept all day until that little bird
flew into my room and landed on my foot
I screamed and scared so much away with that jolt
Those years were full of messages
How that bird woke me
in a kind of existential way
That’s when once just a few weeks later
I ran down
the long tear of a mountain
and felt that elder pass me over in the rain
to the younger one with the painted nails I was so surprised
that I was being passed from an elder to an ancestor who had died younger
and whose nails were so red

The elder said She is with you now

No such thing as alone
No such thing as done or a name or free

Return to Issue #135

aracelis girmay is the author of three poetry collections, most recently the black maria (BOA, 2016). She is the editor of So We Can Know: Writers of Color on Pregnancy, Loss, Abortion, and Birth (Haymarket, 2023) and is the editor-at-large of the Blessing the Boats Selections. She is also on the editorial board of the African Poetry Book Fund. Originally from California, her people come from Chicago, Arecibo, Beleza, Adi Sogdo, Griffin, and León. She currently lives with her family in New York. For her work, girmay was a finalist for the Neustadt International Prize for Literature.


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