Two Poems

Ada Limón

The VisitorA neighborhood tuxedo cat’s walking the fence lineand the dogs are going bonkers in the early morning.The louder they bark, the more their vexation grows,the less the cat seems to care. She’s behind my raisedbeds now, no doubt looking for the family of field miceI’ve been leaving be because why not? The cat’sdressed up for this occasion of trespass, formalattire for the canine taunting, but the whole clamoris making me uneasy. This might be what growingolder is. My problem: I see all the angles of whatcould go wrong so I never know what side to be on.Save the mice, shoo the cat, quiet the dogs? Letthe cat have at it? Let the dogs have at it? Instead,I do what I do best: nothing. I watch the catleap into the drainage ditch, dew-wet fur againstthe daylilies, and disappear. The dogs go quietagain, and the mice are safe in their caves, andI’m here waiting for something to happen to me. Bald Eagles in a FieldShe was almost gone at that point,enough so we could start to make plans.Bright for a February near Fishtown,Skagit Bay another sun on the earthshining upward. On our way for groceries,we saw one eagle in a field, then another.I had never seen two bald eagles togetherlike that, and it felt like a sign, somethingthat would shift things forever, but it wasn’treally, it was just a moment, dad and daughterpulled over in the car, silent and breathingfor a singular instance before all we knewtook flight.

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Ada  Limón

Ada Limón is the author of four previous books of poetry, including Bright Dead Things, which was named a finalist for the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. Her work has appeared in numerous publications including the New Yorker, the New York Times, Tin House, and American Poetry Review. (Author photo by Lucas Marquardt)

Vulnerable, tender, acute, these are serious poems, brave poems, exploring with honesty the ambiguous moment between the rapture of youth and the grace of acceptance. A daughter tends to aging parents. A woman struggles with infertility—“What if, instead of carrying / a child, I am supposed to carry grief?”—and a body seized by pain and vertigo as well as ecstasy. A nation convulses: “Every song of this country / has an unsung third stanza, something brutal.” And still Limón shows us, as ever, the persistence of hunger, love, and joy, the dizzying fullness of our too-short lives. “Fine then, / I’ll take it,” she writes. “I’ll take it all.”

“A master of examining themes from unexpected angles, Limón rotates her topics in kaleidoscopic turns…. Page after page, this proves to be a startling and tender, magnificent collection.”
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