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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

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

Ada Limón is the author of The Carrying (Milkweed Editions, 2018) and Bright Dead Things (Milkweed Editions, 2015), which was a finalist for the National Book Award.

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First there was the blue wing
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from blade to blade. Then
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in like the R. J. Corman over
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These are the last three things
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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
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I am a hearth of spiders these days: a nest of trying.

We point out the

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When the doctor suggested surgery
and a brace for all my youngest years,
my parents scrambled to take me
to massage therapy, deep tissue work,
osteopathy, and soon my crooked spine
unspooled a bit, I could breathe again,
and move more in a body unclouded
by pain. My mom would tell