Ada Limon


Gratitude In Spite of Oneself

Cold as a coin, misery places his man-hands on the
heroine’s fast-paced heart. She thinks she lacks the pluck
and nuzzle of her earlier bones, wants to give up her beat.
So, where exactly is North Carolina, why then should
she not go there? Remember the butterfly tree? That strange
non-sound sound, the tongue taste of natural color, the fat
birds on real live trees? Our heroine is much obliged
to the generous authority of the earth. She would like
to thank this collection of authentic apparitions. Thank you
for coming into me, she says. Keep me here as long as
you can stand my own human clutter.





In the Glen Ellen night, banned to the backyard
for running in the house, a particular tree and I
became fast friends in the green sequined summer.
I situated myself inside it where I watched
the yellow of our kitchen window--my
soundproof family. I liked the shadows cast
on my bare limbs in gobo leaf prints. I imagined
myself growing green sprouts and maroon bark
that shot into the dirt. Today in this terrible
cement city, I will do your city bidding, but I tell you:
I am there, across from Sonoma Creek, still hidden
in the tree, where I cannot be un-believed.