Ada Limón
The Rewilding

What should we believe in next?

Daniel Boone’s brother’s grave says, Killed by Indians.


We point at it; poke at it like a wound— 

history’s noose.


Below the grave, a cold spring runs. 

Clear, like a conscience.


Now, I’m alone.


Only me and the white bones of an animal’s hand 

revealed in the silt.


There remains the mystery of how the pupil devours 

so much bastard beauty. Abandoned property.


This land and I are rewilding.

A bird I don’t know, but follow with my still living eye. 


The day before me undresses in the wet Southern heat:

flower mouth, 

pollen burn, 

wing sweat.


I don’t want to be only the landscape: the bone’s buried.


Let the subject be

the movement of the goldenrod, the mustard,

the cardinal, the jay, the generosity.


I don’t want anything,
not even to show it to you—


the beakgrass, bottlebrush, dandelion seed head, 

parachute and crown,
all the intention of wishes, forgiveness,


this day’s singular existence in time,
the native field flourishing selfishly, only for itself.

Found In Volume 43, No. 06
Read Issue
  • e ada limon 4
Ada Limón
About the Author

Ada Limón, a Guggenheim fellow, is the author of five poetry collections, including The Carrying, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry. Her fourth book, Bright Dead Things, was named a finalist for the National Book Award, a finalist for the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. She serves on the faculty of Queens University of Charlotte Low Residency M.F.A program and lives in Lexington, Kentucky.