the other side


This Morning the Small Bird Brought a Message from the Other Side
Aracelis Girmay

I would not call it fear
or the absence of fear
that I woke with, but worry,
this morning when I rose
up from the bed, & saw,
with clear seeing, for the first time,
that my chest was a small, red cup,
or bird in my hand, somehow
thirsty, its injury
made me panic for it
& I carried it with me
not knowing what to do
with its small speech, the way
it said your name.

I want to know what to do
with the dead things we carry.

If I were to wake
another morning,
maybe tomorrow,
with the red thing in my chest
or hand, what would
I do? Will I?

& the bird, would it attempt,
to cross over, would it come again
from the body’s realm
of animals & claws?
Would it risk its life
again to give me the message
of your name?
Would I trust my mouth
to resuscitate the messenger, small bird,
knowing I could kill it
with my teeth?