All above us is the touching of strangers & parrots

Illustration by Kristina Closs

This gorgeous poem by Aracelis Girmay was published a decade ago and yet feels so eerily right for this time of immense loss of life and of touching this world full of fleeting things.


What to do with this knowledge
that our living is not guaranteed?

Perhaps one day you touch the young branch
of something beautiful. & it grows & grows
despite your birthdays & the death certificate,
& it one day shades the heads of something beautiful
or makes itself useful to the nest. Walk out
of your house, then, believing in this.
Nothing else matters.

All above us is the touching
of strangers & parrots,
some of them human,
some of them not human.

Listen to me. I am telling you
a true thing. This is the only kingdom.
The kingdom of touching;
the touches of the disappearing, things.


From Kingdom Animalia