Sunday, May 8, 2005

I Still Can

I have discovered another contemporary I like very very much!

Making a Fist

by Naomi Shihab Nye

For the first time, on the road north of Tampico,
I felt the life sliding out of me,
a drum in the desert, harder and harder to hear.
I was seven, I lay in the car
watching palm trees swirl a sickening pattern past the glass.
My stomach was a melon split wide inside my skin.

"How do you know if you are going to die?"
I begged my mother.
We had been traveling for days.
With strange confidence she answered,
"When you can no longer make a fist."

Years later I smile to think of that journey,
the borders we must cross separately,
stamped with our unanswerable woes.
I who did not die, who am still living,
still lying in the backseat behind all my questions,
clenching and opening one small hand.

The Rider
by Naomi Shihab Nye

A boy told me
If he roller-skated fast enough
His loneliness couldn't catch up to him,
The best reason I ever heard
For trying to be a champion.
What I wonder tonight
Pedaling hard down King William Street
It if it translates to bicycles.
A victory! To leave behind your loneliness
Panting behind you on some street corner
While you float free into a cloud of sudden azaleas,
No matter how slowly they fell.

1 comment:

  1. You know, i havent read enough of Nye--a few poems here and there that were anthologized. i need to add a book of hers to my shopping list!