Poetry The Filth issue

Placenta, shed, my

By aracelis girmay

Figure sketch, Eugène Carrière, c.1850 © The Trustees of the British Museum

lichen, my book,
my organ, my slop,
your cake my slab,
our moss & eye
& sac of meat
on which the baby fed
from me who was not me
then rode away inside
her own horses, lovingly was
shooed, my garden
nest, that realm, my stray
& matted hair,
your gut & veils,
your small black fist,
your hidmo room
of minerals & weight,
my flee & struggle, table,
my splay at which we met
in darkness though I left you there, my sorry,
desiccated by hospital light,
grandmother, my dog, following
our child out though you knew
the air would kill,
elder, my elder,
but also the baby & baby twin,
her mother, her me, her meadow of wild
flowers who,
when I had no hands, no mind,
took care of her & made her live


aracelis girmay is the author of three books of poems, most recently THE BLACK MARIA. She is on the editorial board of the African Poetry Book Fund and lives and teaches in Brooklyn.