Two Poems by Ada Limón

Marketing Life for Those of Us Left
                           (for Jessica Yen)

Stuck in the answer of day,
all we’ve got are these people to rely on,
and trees, and the grasp of a river in the mind.
All the beautiful girls in the office are laughing and I laugh
along. And all of us good people, honest and clean,
And what puts the mean in some of us?

Sumptuous mountain, midnight milkweed,
come to the valley of neon and no-crying.
High hillside of home,
I’m waving from the cement center, can you see me?
I’ve got this big city in me. Pretty on fire, pretty high wired.
It’s been a year since Jess died, she said,
“I always knew it would come down to pills in the applesauce.”
And the house is not haunted, nor the office.
I wish it was, don’t you?
We were wilder before, see-through shirts
and model boys and bouncers in hotels lobbies
across the country.
Who knew it would be hard to get to thirty-two?
A friend says the best way to love the world is to think of leaving.
We’re all in a little trouble, you know?
Piles of empty stars we’ve tossed aside for the immediate kiss.
Push me around a bit, shake my pockets, I store everything
in my mouth, going to make an apple out of plastic,
going to make a real star out of the apple, then I’m
going to sell it to you.
I’m going to tell you it’s the most important thing.
I’m going to tell you I’m sorry, I’m going to crash
on your communal couch of unwanted.
Let’s say bloom.
Let’s say we’re a miracle of technology.
It’s harder to not say anything. It’s harder to admit
we are alive sometimes, isn’t it?
It’s all we’ve got, say it, pinch me.
You’re here. So am I. So there.
………………………………………………………………………………………………………

A Name

When Eve walked among
the animals and named them—
nightingale, redshouldered hawk,
fiddler crab, fallow deer—
I wonder if she ever wanted
them to speak back, looked into
their wide wonderful eyes and
whispered, Name me, name me.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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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