Brigid Murnaghan

a fierce poet and friend, died September 11, 2017 at eleven o’clock at night.

When my daughter, Alice, applied to boarding school, she had to write an essay about the person she most admired. She picked Brigid. Not some pop star. Not some figure skater. She wrote, “I admire Brigid because she lives her life exactly the way she wants to.” and she went on to recount a story Brigid would tell of her girlhood in the Bronx.

Brigid lived with her parents and four sisters in an apartment a block from the Bronx Zoo. One afternoon, at St. Clare of Assisi Elementary, the Sister explained to the class that people went to heaven because people had souls. “What about animals?” asked Brigid, always with an eye out for controversy. “No dear, animals can’t accept the sacraments,” said Sister. Young Brigid went right home, poured the Holy Water from the household font into a mason jar, replacing the blessed liquid with water from the kitchen tap. The sun was going down, and, with one of her little friends in tow, they snuck into the zoo and went from cage to cage baptizing the animals. Alligators and crocodiles were too scary, but the lonesome okapi, the first of its kind in North America, was in particular need.

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