Before by Ada Limón

Now, in twilight, on the palace steps
the king asks forgiveness of his lady.

He is not
duplicitous; he has tried to be
true to the moment; is there another way of being
true to the self?

The lady
hides her face, somewhat
assisted by the shadows. She weeps
for her past; when one has a secret life,

one’s tears are never explained.

Yet gladly would the king bear
the grief of his lady: his
is the generous heart,
in pain as in joy.

Do you know
what forgiveness mean? it mean
the world has sinned, the world
must be pardoned —

In the Country of Resurrection by Ada Limón


Last night we killed a possum,
out of mercy, in the middle of the road.

It was dying, its face was bloody,
the back legs were shattered. The mistake

I made was getting out of the car
(you told me not to), but I wanted to be

sure, needed to know for sure, that it could
not be saved. (Someone else had hit it.)

The sound it was making. The sound
folded me back into the airless car.

Do it, do it fast, I lowered my head
until the thud was done. You killed it quiet.

We drove home under the sickle moon,
laundry gone cold and dry on the line.

But that was last night. This morning
the sun is coming alive in the kitchen.

You’ve gone to get us gas station coffee
and there is so much life all over the place.

How to Triumph Like a Girl by Ada Limón

I like the lady horses best,
how they make it all look easy,
like running 40 miles per hour
is as fun as taking a nap, or grass.
I like their lady horse swagger,
after winning. Ears up, girls, ears up!
But mainly, let’s be honest, I like
that they’re ladies. As if this big
dangerous animal is also a part of me,
that somewhere inside the delicate
skin of my body, there pumps
an 8-pound female horse heart,
giant with power, heavy with blood.
Don’t you want to believe it?
Don’t you want to lift my shirt and see
the huge beating genius machine
that thinks, no, it knows,
it’s going to come in first.