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Ada Lim&oacuten

Ada Limón

Ada Limón is the author of five books of poetry, including Bright Dead Things, which was named a finalist for the 2015 National Book Award in Poetry, the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, and the 2016 National Book Critics Circle Award. Her new collection, The Carrying, will be released by Milkweed Editions in August of 2018.

Dead Stars


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
so mute it's almost in another year.

I am a hearth of spiders these days: a nest of trying.

We point out the stars that make Orion as we take out
    the trash, the rolling containers a song of suburban thunder.

It's almost romantic as we adjust the waxy blue
    recycling bin until you say, Man, we should really learn
some new constellations.

And it's true. We keep forgetting about Antlia, Centaurus,
     Draco, Lacerta, Hydra, Lyra, Lynx.

But mostly we're forgetting we're dead stars too, my mouth is full
       of dust and I wish to reclaim the rising—

to lean in the spotlight of streetlight with you, toward
   what's larger within us, toward how we were born.

Look, we are not unspectacular things.
     We've come this far, survived this much. What

would happen if we decided to survive more? To love harder?

What if we stood up with our synapses and flesh and said, No.
       No, to the rising tides.

Stood for the many mute mouths of the sea, of the land?

What would happen if we used our bodies to bargain

for the safety of others, for earth,
     if we declared a clean night, if we stopped being terrified,

if we launched our demands into the sky, made ourselves so big
people could point to us with the arrows they make in their minds,

rolling their trash bins out, after all of this is over?

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