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Dear Minnie, Dear Ms.

     for Minnie Riperton & Ms. Lucille

This earth

    of the dagger-toothed & hawks,

whose names we know,

taking bones for diamonds,

    full of hair & snakes,

earth eating you, slowly,

    below the sound

    of gold horns.

This earth

    with a jaw in its hand.

Brown-chariot, take-you-home

earth, chew you up

    with the quiet work

of animals & trees, underworld

    churning you through

    the dark engines

    of its appetite. This

earth we opened up

    & buried you in, our

treasure, we miss

you, we miss you

    with all life. This night

we think we will never close

    again. We are pinned open

    like a scientist’s moths

    to leave you there dressed

    in a box & earth around you.

This box earth, coffin

    earth. Teeth earth eat

your chest through, laced

by the wrangle of beetles & worms

    & ants who carry your bright pieces

like market cloth over their heads

    to feed you to the queen

    in the deeper corridors

    of mysteries & dirt.

Trust the queen is you.

Trust the mud is you,

& the soft, silver afro of the dandelion.

Trust the grass-whistle might be

your speech, high as the whistle

of the whale. Trust

we’ll know your shape, whatever species

in you answers when we put our faces

to the dirt & call you by

your old & human name.

from Kingdom AnimaliaFind it in the library

Copyright © BOA Editions, Ltd 2011
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of BOA Editions LTD.

Published in Aracelis Girmay Poems

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