Dear Minnie, Dear Ms.

by Aracelis Girmay
Girmay. Kingdom Animalia. 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.