by Ada Limón
We Are Surprised
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.
The Noisiness of Sleep
Careful of what I carry
in my head and in my hollow,
I’ve been a long time worried
about grasping infinity
and coaxing some calm
out of the softest part
of the pins and needles
of me. I’d like to take a nap.
But not a nap that’s eternal,
a nap where you wake up
having dreamt of falling, but
you’ve only fallen into
an ease so unknown to you
it looks like a new country.
Let me slip into a life less messy.
Let me slip into your sleeve.
Be very brave about my
trespass, the plan is simple—
the plan is the clock tower
and the lost crow. It’ll be rich.
We’ll live forever. Every moon
will be a moon of surrender
and lemon seeds. You there,
standing up in the crowd,
I’m not proud. The stove
can’t boast of the meal.
All this to say—consider this,
with your combination of firefly
and train whistle, consider this,
with your maze and steel,
I want to be the rough clothes
you can’t sleep in.
Witness the wet dead snake,
its long hexagonal pattern weaved
around its body like a code for creation,
curled up cold on the newly tarred road.
Let us begin with the snake: the fact
of death, the poverty of place, of skin
and surface. See how the snake is cut
in two—its body divided from its brain.
Imagine now, how it moves still, both
sides, the tail dancing, the head dancing.
Believe it is the mother and the father.
Believe it is the mouth and the words.
Believe it is the sin and the sinner—
the tempting, the taking, the apple, the fall,
every one of us guilty, the story of us all.
But then return to the snake, poor dead
thing, forcefully denying the split of its being,
longing for life back as a whole, wanting
you to see it for what it is, something
that loves itself so much, it moves across
the boundaries of death, to touch itself
once more, to praise both divided sides
equally, as if it was almost easy.
Read An Interview with Ada Limón on our blog.