Ada Limon has done it again. I’ve had poetry that has left a strong impression on me, but this collection cut me to my core. Limon is a master of making you feel. I re-read numerous poems because I couldn’t get over the way she captured emotion.
I reviewed bright dead things a few months back and this collection serves as a continuation of her heart and soul.
MAYBE I’LL BE ANOTHER KIND OF MOTHER
Snow today, a layer outlining the maple like a halo,
or rather, a fungus. So many sharp edges in the month.
I’m thinking I’ll never sit down at the table
at the restaurant, you know that one, by the window?
Women gathered in paisley scarves with rusty iced tea,
talking about their kids, their little time-suckers,
how their mouths want so much, a gesture of exhaustion,
a roll of the eyes, But I wouldn’t have it any other way,
their bags full of crayons and nut-free snacks, the light
coming in the window, a small tear of joy melting like ice.
No, I’ll be elsewhere, having spent all day writing words
and then at the movies, where my man bought me a drink,
because our bodies are our own, and what will it be?
A blockbuster? A man somewhere saving the world, alone,
with only the thought of his family to get him through.
The film will be forgettable, a thin star in a blurred sea of stars,
I’ll come home and rub my whole face against my dog’s
belly ; she’ll be warm and want to sleep some more.
I’ll stare at the tree and the ice will have melted, so
it’s only the original tree again, green branches giving way
to other green branches, everything coming back to life.
Limon expresses the hardships of life so elegantly that you almost miss the heartbreak underneath her words. This collection spans the topics of love, lost, infertility, and seeing the beauty in nature and in life.
INSTRUCTIONS ON NOT GIVING UP
More than the fuchsia funnels breaking out
of the crabapple tree, more than the neighbor’s
almost obscene display of cherry limbs shoving
their cotton candy- colored blossoms to the slate
sky of spring rains, it’s the greening of the trees
that really gets to me. When all the shock of white
and taffy, the world’s baubles and trinkets, leave
the pavement strewn with the confetti of aftermath,
the leaves come. Patient, plodding, a green skin
growing over whatever winter did to us, a return
to the strange idea of continuous living despite
the mess of us, the hurt, the empty. Fine then,
I’ll take it, the tree seems to say, a new slick leaf
unfurling like a fist, I’ll take it all.
These poems are fairly straight forward and I would recommend it to anyone who is hesitant to dive into poetry.
THE LAST THING
First there was the blue wing
of a scraggly loud jay tucked
into the shrubs. Then the bluish-
black moth drunkenly tripping
from blade to blade. Then
the quiet that came roaring
in like the R.J. Corman over
Broadway near the RV shop.
These are the last three things
that happened. Not in the universe,
but here, in the basin of my mind,
where I’m always making a list
for you, recording the day’s minor
urchins: silvery dust mote, pistachio
shell, the dog eating a sugar
snap pea. It’s going to rain soon,
close clouds bloated above us,
the air like a net about to release
all the caught fishes, a storm
siren in the distance. I know
you don’t always understand,
but let me point to the first
wet drops landing on the stones,
the noise like fingers drumming
the skin. I can’t help it. I will
never get over making everything
such a big deal.