Ada Limon
Sundown and All the Damage Done

Nearly nine and still the sun’s not slunk

into its nightly digs. The burnt meat smell

of mid-week cookouts and wet grass

hangs in the air like loose familiar summer

garb. Standing by the magnolia tree, I think

if I were to live as long as she did, I’d have

eleven more years. And if I were to live as long

as him, I’d have forty-nine. As long as him,

I’d be dead already. As long as her, this

would be my final year. There’s a strange

contentment to this countdown, a nodding

to this time, where I get to stand under

the waxy leaves of the ancient genus, a tree

that appeared before even the bees, and

watch as fireflies land on the tough tepals

until each broad flower glows like a torch-lit

mausoleum. They call the beetle’s conspicuous

bioluminescence “a cold light,” but why then,
do I still feel so much fire?

 

 

 

 

 

Found In Volume 46, No. 04
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  • Ada Limon
Ada Limon
About the Author

Ada Limón is the author of four books of poetry, including Bright Dead Things, which was named a finalist for the National Book Award in Poetry, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, a finalist for the 2017 Kingsley Tufts Award, and one of the Top Ten Poetry Books of the Year by The New York Times.