- 2018 INDIES Winner
- Gold, Poetry (Adult Nonfiction)
The vein of greatness that pulses through the work of Ada Limón is remarkably subtle, in the same way that beauty in a human isn’t a rote assemblage of chiseled noses, high cheekbones, and full lips. Her extraordinary poems act the part of an autumn leaf slowly descending from on high—only when it reaches the ground, and you regroup your thoughts, do you realize that you witnessed something mesmerizing. Limón is the author of five collections, and her work has appeared in the New Yorker, the American Poetry Review, and the New York Times.
The muffled, ruptured voice of a friend
turns into an electrical signal and breaks open
to tell me her sister has died. A muted pause,
then a heaving. Sounds sucked from lungs.
Outside, as the sun descends to inch-high
on the fallow horizon, a hawk grasp-lands
on the telephone pole. Brawny and barrel-
chested, it perches eyeing the late winter
seed head of switchgrass. Later, we’re talking
about self care, being strong, surviving
a long time. The hawk launches as the sun
oozes puce and ochre and sinks. I write
to another friend who says her partner
is like a hawk—steadfast, wary. I think
of the sharp-shinned hunters, the Coopers,
the Swainsons, how hawks are both serene
and scary as hell, scary that is, if you’re
the mouse. That’s the trick, we say,
isn’t it? Don’t be the mouse.
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