Poems by Ada Limon
Dream the Creek Again #4
There’s a place that only I know exists, an elevator
whisks you down an abandoned mine shaft where
the neon fish splash in droves in the creek’s clear
aqua water. A long time ago, the rose quartz bloomed
like algae on the cave walls, and the wet streaks of black
earth fueled the fish’s mouths. I come here mostly alone.
For almost forty years I’ve dropped down into this hidden
crack in the world where light comes in stuck in strict
beams that prism and ping. But this time, I walked across
the street from where I had parked the car on Arnold Drive,
I looked down to where my hush-hush world was waiting,
and bridged out my hand to bring you in.
Dream of the German Shepherd #9
The house was down a hill by the water;
so many bricks to get deep into the space
we lived in. You were cooking something,
unloading groceries and the dogs were so
hungry. With horror, I realized I had left
the german shepherd muzzled for days–
she was dying, starving. I pet her head,
her deep neck fur thick and warm
like a bear’s. I removed the muzzle
and massaged the greasy tamped down
places it had cinched her mouth closed.
As I rubbed her and rubbed and apologized,
instead of biting, or eating, or running–
she began, with a low growl, to speak.
Dream the Intoxicant #17
The lady fireman I knew from high school
had somehow figured out a way to date
herself and she seemed so terribly happy.
Her elbows on the bar touching her elbows.
They each had matching hats and when
the brims teetered close to touch, their
teeth blossomed into such high-wattage smiles
that it was impossible not to try to make
love to them both, not to desire everything
they had given up. Knox had decided
the only way love would last was to never
marry and buy a lot of vintage muscle cars
with her man who loved to light silent fires
in the mountain cabin. But, not surprisingly,
I had been diagnosed with a disease
that made icy blue crystals grow inside me,
like rock sugar, the color of Vick’s Vapor Rub,
and the larger they grew, the easier it was to
shatter them into dust, so my new way
of moving was to go unnoticed by everything,
begging even the air not to touch me.
More art by Jiwoon Pak here.