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Ada Limón: The Carrying: Poems (2018, Milkweed Editions) 4 stars

"Vulnerable, tender, acute, these are serious poems, brave poems, exploring with honesty the ambiguous moment …

What I Didn't Know Before by Ada Limón

was how horses simply give birth to other horses. Not a baby by any means, not a creature of liminal spaces, but already a four-legged beast hellbent on walking, scrambling after the mother. A horse gives way to another horse and then suddenly there are two horses, just like that. That's how I loved you. You, off the long train from Red Bank carrying a coffee as big as your arm, a bag with two computers swinging in it unwieldily at your side. I remember we broke into laughter when we saw each other. What was between us wasn't a fragile thing to be coddled, cooed over. It came out fully formed, ready to run.

The Carrying: Poems by  (Page 71)

Juan Felipe Herrera: Half of the world in light (2008, University of Arizona Press) No rating

We Are All Saying the Same Thing by Juan Felipe Herrera after Szymborska

Yeti come down. The escape is over—the earthquake mixes the leaves into an exotic pattern.

You slide down the precipice & spit. You chew on a Tibetan prayer wheel.

This is our city with the bridge in flames, call it Desire. This is our mountain, hear its umber harness shiver, call it Time.

& this old woman beating a bluish rag with her shredded hands—call her now,

call her with your honey-like voices. She is the sky you were after, that immeasurable breath in every one of us.

We are all saying the same thing, Yeti. We lift our breast & speak of fire, then ice.

We press into our little knotted wombs, wonder about our ends, then, our beginnings.

Half of the world in light by  (Page 188)

Ada Limon: Hurting Kind (2022, Milkweed Editions) No rating

Runaway Child by Ada Limón

The ocean was two things once, in two places, north it was the high

icy waves of Bodega Bay, Dillon, and Limantour, and south it was the blue ease

of Oceanside and Encinitas, umbrellas in a sleepy breeze.

It took me years to realize those two blues were the same ocean.

I thought they must be separate. Must be cleaved in the center by a fault line.

On a call just now with my grandmother she mentions how all the flowers

I've sent are from my garden, so I let her believe it. Sweet lies of the mind.

She says she's surprised I like to grow things, didn't think

I was that kind of girl, she always thought I was a runaway child.

She flicks her hand away, to show me her hand becoming a bird, swerving

until it is a white gull in the wind. She repeats: a runaway child.

Mercy is not frozen in time, but flits about frantically, unsure where to land.

As children, they'd bring us to the ocean, divorce distraction and summer,

we'd drift with the tide southward until we'd almost lose sight of them,

waving dramatically for our return, shouting until we came back to the shore.

Once, when she was watching us, I tried to run away, four or five years old,

and when I got to the end of the driveway, she didn't try to stop me. Even shut the door.

And so I came back. She knew what it was to be unloved, abandoned by her mother,

riding her bike by her father's house with his other children, late afternoons,

before her grandmother would call her home for supper. Some days, I think

she would have let me leave, some days I think of her shaking on the shore.

Now, she thinks all the flowers I've sent are from my garden. Grown

from seeds and tended. She gets a kick out of it, this runaway child

so overly loved, she could dare to drift away from it all.

Hurting Kind by  (Page 68 - 70)

Ada Limon: Hurting Kind (2022, Milkweed Editions) No rating

If I Should Fail by Ada Limón

The ivy eating the fence line, each tendril multiplying by green tendril, if I should fail the seeds lifted out and devoured by bristled marauders, blame only me and the strip of sun which bade me come to lie down snakelike on my belly, low snake energy, and be tempted by the crevices between the world and not world, if I should fail know I stared long into fractures and it seemed to me a mighty system of gaps one could slither into and I was made whole in that knowledge of a sleek nothingness.

Hurting Kind by  (Page 72)

Ada Limón: Bright dead things (2015) No rating

"Bright Dead Things examines the chaos that is life, the dangerous thrill of living in …

We Are Surprised by Ada Limón

Now, we take the moon into the middle of our brains

so we look like roadside stray cats with bright flashlight-white eyes

in our faces, but no real ideas of when or where to run.

We linger on the field's green edge and say, Someday, son, none of this

will be yours. Miracles are all around. We're not so much homeless

as we are home-free, penny-poor, but plenty lucky for love and leaves

that keep breaking the fall. Here it is: the new way of living with the world

inside of us so we cannot lose it, and we cannot be lost. You and me

are us and them, and it and sky. It's hard to believe we didn't

know that before; it's hard to believe we were so hollowed out, so drained,

only so we could shine a little harder when the light finally came.

Bright dead things by  (Page 42 - 43)