poem index

sign up to receive a new poem-a-day in your inbox

About this Poem 

"There is so much to worry about. All the time, so much worry. Here, I wanted to take all the worry as far out as I could and then stamp it out under the heavy black boot of love."
—Ada Limón

The Conditional

Ada Limón, 1976

Say tomorrow doesn't come.
Say the moon becomes an icy pit.
Say the sweet-gum tree is petrified.
Say the sun's a foul black tire fire.
Say the owl's eyes are pinpricks.
Say the raccoon's a hot tar stain.
Say the shirt's plastic ditch-litter.
Say the kitchen's a cow's corpse.
Say we never get to see it: bright
future, stuck like a bum star, never
coming close, never dazzling.
Say we never meet her. Never him.
Say we spend our last moments staring
at each other, hands knotted together,
clutching the dog, watching the sky burn.
Say, It doesn't matter. Say, That would be
enough. Say you'd still want this: us alive,
right here, feeling lucky.


 

Copyright © 2013 by Ada Limón . Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on March 14, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Copyright © 2013 by Ada Limón . Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on March 14, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Ada Limón

Ada Limón

Born in 1976, Ada Limón received the 2005 Autumn House Poetry Prize for her debut collection, Lucky Wreck

by this poet

poem
It's a day when all the dogs of all
the borrowed houses are angel footing
down the hard hardwood of middle-America's
newly loaned-up renovated kitchen floors,
and the world's nicest pie I know
is somewhere waiting for the right
time to offer itself to the wayward
and the word-weary. How come the road
goes coast
poem
We'll say unbelievable things 
to each other in the early morning— 
  
our blue coming up from our roots, 
our water rising in our extraordinary limbs. 
  
All night I dreamt of bonfires and burn piles 
and ghosts of men, and spirits 
behind those birds of flame. 
  
I cannot tell anymore when a door opens or
poem

No shoes and a glossy
red helmet, I rode
on the back of my dad’s
Harley at seven years old.
Before the divorce.
Before the new apartment.
Before the new marriage.
Before the apple tree.
Before the ceramics in the garbage.
Before the dog’s chain.
Before the koi were