Relentless Poem by Ada Limón


Sun in the cool expressway underpass air
and Ma calls, says it's nice out today
during her long walk through the vineyard
where spring's pushed out every tizzy-tongued
flower known to the valley's bosom of light.
I say, Look, we're talking about the weather,
and she says, You know, it does help you
see the person you're talking to. (The difference
in a wind-blown winter's walk in January cold
and the loose steps of sun on far-off shoulders.)
Then I say, Now, we're talking about talking
about the weather. It's very meta of us.
Yes, she says, we could go on like this forever.
And it's been exactly two months since
C died, my hands holding her head, odd
extraordinary February sun gone down
on the smooth slope of green grass, and
all my father and I had done all day was
talk about two things: the weather and her
breathing. (That machine-body gone harsh
in its prolonging and the loud gasping sigh of dying,
thick as a hawk's cry, breaking out in the cloudless
atmosphere.) Some impossibly still moment,
we stood looking at the long field's pull
and we wanted her to die, for her sake,
wanted the motor of body to give up and go.
How strange this silent longing for death,
as if you could make the sun not come up,
the world's wheeling and wheeling its seasons
like a cruel continuation of stubborn force.
But that's not how it happens. Instead, light
escapes from the heart's room and for a moment
you believe the clock will stop itself. Absence.
You see: light escapes from a body at night
and in the morning, despite the oppressive vacancy
of her leaving's shadow, light comes up
over the mountains and it is and it is and it is.

Ada Limón

Ada Limón

Sonoma, California
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