Sanctuary

Suppose it’s easy to slip
into another’s green skin,
bury yourself in leaves

and wait for a breaking,
a breaking open, a breaking
out. I have, before, been

tricked into believing
I could be both an I
and the world. The great eye

of the world is both gaze
and gloss. To be swallowed
by being seen. A dream.

To be made whole
by being not a witness,
but witnessed.

Give Me This

I thought it was the neighbor’s cat back
to clean the clock of the fledgling robins low
in their nest stuck in the dense hedge by the house
but what came was much stranger, a liquidity
moving, all muscle and bristle: a groundhog
slippery and waddle-thieving my tomatoes still
green in the morning’s shade. I watched her
munch and stand on her haunches taking such
pleasure in the watery bites. Why am I not allowed
delight? A stranger writes to request my thoughts
on suffering. Barbed wire pulled out of the mouth,
as if demanding that I kneel to the trap of coiled
spikes used in warfare and fencing. Instead,
I watch the groundhog more closely and a sound escapes
me, a small spasm of joy I did not imagine
when I woke. She is a funny creature and earnest,
and she is doing what she can to survive.

From The Hurting Kind by Ada Limón (Minneapolis: Milkweed Editions, 2022). Copyright © 2022 by Ada Limón. Reprinted with permission from Milkweed Editions. 

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