Ada Limón

The Carrying

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From National Book Award and National Book Critics Circle Award finalist Ada Limón comes The Carrying—her most powerful collection yet.
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.”
In Bright Dead Things, Limón showed us a heart “giant with power, heavy with blood”—“the huge beating genius machine / that thinks, no, it knows, / it’s going to come in first.” In her follow-up collection, that heart is on full display—even as The Carrying continues further and deeper into the bloodstream, following the hard-won truth of what it means to live in an imperfect world.
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    jorgelandabcompartió una citahace 3 meses
    The truth is, I’ve never cared for the National
    Anthem. If you think about it, it’s not a good
    song. Too high for most of us with “the rockets’
    red glare” and then there are the bombs.
    (Always, always there is war and bombs.)
    Once, I sang it at homecoming and threw
    even the tenacious high school band off key.
    But the song didn’t mean anything, just a call
    to the field, something to get through before
    the pummeling of youth. And what of the stanzas
    we never sing, the third that mentions “no refuge
    could save the hireling and the slave”? Perhaps
    the truth is every song of this country
    has an unsung third stanza, something brutal
    snaking underneath us as we blindly sing
    the high notes with a beer sloshing in the stands
    hoping our team wins. Don’t get me wrong, I do
    like the flag, how it undulates in the wind
    like water, elemental, and best when it’s humbled,
    brought to its knees, clung to by someone who
    has lost everything, when it’s not a weapon,
    when it flickers, when it folds up so perfectly
    you can keep it until it’s needed, until you can
    love it again, until the song in your mouth feels
    like sustenance, a song where the notes are sung
    by even the ageless woods, the shortgrass plains,
    the Red River Gorge, the fistful of land left
    unpoisoned, that song that’s our birthright,
    that’s sung in silence when it’s too hard to go on,
    that sounds like someone’s rough fingers weaving
    into another’s, that sounds like a match being lit
    in an endless cave, the song that says my bones
    are your bones, and your bones are my bones,
    and isn’t that enough?
    jorgelandabcompartió una citahace 3 meses
    The night after, I dream I chop
    all the penises off, the ones that
    keep coming through the walls.
    Tied in sweat-wet sheets, I wake
    aching, how I’ve longed for touch
    for so much of my bodied time.
    In the shower later, I notice new
    layers I’ve grown, softness love tosses
    you after years of streetlights alone.
    I will never harm you, your brilliant
    skin I rub against in the night,
    still, part of me is haunted—
    a shadow baying inside me
    who wants to snap her hind leg
    back, buck the rider, follow
    that fugitive call into oblivion
    jorgelandabcompartió una citahace 3 meses
    Outside, after grieving for days,
    I’m thinking of how we make stories,
    pluck them like beetles out of the air,
    collect them, pin their glossy backs
    to the board like the rows of stolen
    beauties, dead, displayed at Isla Negra,
    where the waves broke over us
    and I still loved the country, wanted
    to suck the bones of the buried.
    Now, I’m outside a normal house
    while friends cook and please
    and pour secrets into each other.
    A crow pierces the sky, ominous,
    clanging like an alarm, but there
    is no ocean here, just tap water
    rising in the sink, a sadness clean
    of history only because it’s new,
    a few weeks old, our national wound.
    I don’t know how to hold this truth,
    so I kill it, pin its terrible wings down
    in case, later, no one believes me

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