National Poetry Month Day 20: Ada Limón

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The News She Does Not Give Him (Everyone is Killing Us)
—For Maurice Stallard and Vickie Lee Jones shot in the Jeffersontown Kroger, Louisville, KY

The gunman walks
through the parking lot,
casually, like he’s picking up
Kool-Aid and bread. The gunman
walks casually like your work pal
who brings his lunch to the park
and enjoys the sun on his shoulders
and coffee made white with milk.
The gunman moves and moves
and moves like he is not a stranger
at all, not in this land, he moves
like he does not own his body,
but he owns the land that his body
walks on, he is not blood and muscle,
but he is an idea, an idea about your
blood and muscle and my body,
the gunman must have someone
who loves him, who takes his gun
from him some days and weeps,
he says, Whites don’t shoot whites
to the other gunman hunched
by the car, holding a revolver
so casually, he keeps it casually
in the glove compartment, for
safety. The gunman doesn’t shoot
the gunman. The gunless get
gunned down casually—

white sneakers
in the parking lot,
a woman’s
white sneakers—

she put on before going
for Kool-Aid and bread and she walks
casually on her white sneakers, until
white falls over her, a white hot
shock of white, so casually comes.

***

Photograph of Ada Limón by Lucas Marquardt.


Ada Limón is the author of five books of poetry, including The Carrying, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry and was named one of the top 5 poetry books of the year by the Washington Post. 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 MFA program, and the online and summer programs for the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center. She also works as a freelance writer in Lexington, Kentucky. More from this author →