Catastrophe is Next to Godliness - A Poem for Sunday
Blessing at the Burning Bush
To the Busted Among Us
For Broken Trust
Catastrophe is Next to Godliness - A Poem for Sunday Lord, I confess I want the clarity of catastrophe but not the catastrophe. Like everyone else, I want a storm I can dance in. I want an excuse to change my life. The day A. died, the sun was brighter than any sun. I answered the phone, and a channel opened between my stupid head and heaven, or what was left of it. The blankness stared back; and I made sound after sound with my blood-wet gullet. O unsayable—O tender and divine unsayable, I knew you then: you line straight to the planet’s calamitous core; you moment moment moment; you intimate abyss I called sister for a good reason. When the Bad Thing happened, I saw every blade. And every year I find out what they’ve done to us, I shed another skin. I get closer to open air; true north. Lord, if I say Bless the cold water you throw on my face, does that make me a costume party. Am I greedy for comfort if I ask you not to kill my friends; if I beg you to press your heel against my throat—not enough to ruin me, but just so—just so I can almost see your face—
The Plum Trees
Things to Do in the Belly of the Whale
Out here, there’s a bowing even the trees are doing. Winter’s icy hand at the back of all of us. Black bark, slick yellow leaves, a kind of stillness that feels so mute it’s almost in another year. I am a hearth of spiders these days: a nest of trying. We point out the stars that make Orion as we take out the trash, the rolling containers a song of suburban thunder. It’s almost romantic as we adjust the waxy blue recycling bin until you say, Man, we should really learn And it’s true. We keep forgetting about Antlia, Centaurus, Draco, Lacerta, Hydra, Lyra, Lynx. But mostly we’re forgetting we’re dead stars too, my mouth is full of dust and I wish to reclaim the rising— to lean in the spotlight of streetlight with you, toward what’s larger within us, toward how we were born. Look, we are not unspectacular things. We’ve come this far, survived this much. What would happen if we decided to survive more? To love harder? What if we stood up with our synapses and flesh and said, No. Stood for the many mute mouths of the sea, of the land? What would happen if we used our bodies to bargain for the safety of others, for earth, if we declared a clean night, if we stopped being terrified, if we launched our demands into the sky, made ourselves so big people could point to us with the arrows they make in their minds, rolling their trash bins out, after all of this is over? From The Carrying (Milkweed Editions, 2018) by Ada Limón. Copyright © 2018 by Ada Limón.
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