Two Poems by Ada Limón

61 Trees

While he went into the 7-11 to pick up coffee and lottery tickets, she fooled with the radio
dial. She found a familiar public radio voice and reclined her seat. Someone had figured
out how to determine the amount of trees on the planet. She thought the word, planet
sounded isolated and cold. NASA, or someone else who had access to space, had mapped
out all the trees from a satellite because they give off a special kind of light. Then they
calculated how many people there were and divided the amount of trees by people and
came up with 61. Each person has 61 trees to call their own. When he got back in the car
she was trying to count how many trees she’d need to be really happy. She thought she’d
need more than 61. He handed her a coffee she didn’t ask for. If she needed more trees
he’d probably let her have one or two of his.  They could share them all and then they’d
have a forest. 122 trees would be alright.


Rest Stop

Walking toward the ravine while he napped on the rest stop picnic table, she thought
about what her mother said about capacity. How we all have this great capacity for
acceptance. She stood now at the edge of the drop-off and practiced accepting. She
accepted the plant and root, the wheat and water, the wounded rocky land, the zipped-
lipped stones, the delicate sighs of cars just far enough away to be pleasant. Then she
practiced being accepted. (This was harder.) She still felt her heart was a small flat-faced
owl drugged by the daytime. She wanted to make an echo, but was unsure of what would
return to her, if she could suck in the same sound she spit out. She settled on a laugh. And
when it came back to her it was like clapping and cheering—a whole crowd of singing
hers spurring on her strange human attempt to not suffer.


Ada Limon Ada Limon

Ada Limón's first book, lucky wreck, was the winner of the Autumn House Poetry Prize and her second book, This Big Fake World, was the winner of the Pearl Poetry Prize. She's won the Chicago Literary Award and fellowships from the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center and the New York Foundation for the Arts. Her third book of poems Sharks in the Rivers, will be published by Milkweed Editions in 2010. She is at work on a novel and a book of essays.

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