Two Poems by Ada Limón


What I Didn’t Know Before


was how horses simply give birth to other
horses. Not a baby by any means, not
a creature of liminal spaces, but a four-legged
beast hellbent on walking, scrambling after
the mother. A horse gives way to another
horse and then suddenly there are two horses,
just like that. That’s how I loved you. You, 
off the long train from Red Bank carrying
a coffee as big as your arm, a bag with two
computers swinging in it unwieldily at your
side. I remember we broke into laughter
when we saw each other. What was between
us wasn’t a fragile thing to be coddled, cooed
over. It came out fully formed, ready to run.



What I Want to Remember


Right before General Vallejo’s home,
with its stately stone and yellow walls,

there’s a field along the footpath
where spring rains bring the frogs,

a whole symphony of them, breaking
open the hours just after the sun

sinks into the Pacific Ocean only
an hour away.  Why am I placing

you here? I’m on a plane going west
and all the humans are so loud

it hurts the blood. But once I sat
next to a path that was still warm

from the day’s heat, cross-legged
with my friend named Echo who taught

me how to amplify the strange sound
the frogs made by cupping my ears.

I need to hold this close within me,
when today’s news is full of dead  children,

their faces opening their mouths for air
that will not come. Once I was a child too

and my friend and I sat for maybe an hour,
eyes adjusting to the night sky, cupping

and un-cupping our ears to hear
the song the tenderest animals made.