Making A Fist


Making a Fist

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.

18 Comments on “Making A Fist

  1. What wonderful posts you have created, George. 🙂 I can’t remember the name of your ‘alternative’ blog but it’s been lovely to spend a little time with you this morning. Sometimes when I’m skipping through the Reader looking for someone your name catches my eye and I think- must go and see George! Fickle me! I’m glad you made the first move. Stay blessed, and I hope 2016 is kind. 🙂


    • Ah, Zeeb! I loved that poem. It reminded me of my young self. And I love the ending… Still lying there “behind my questions”. So damn true. I try to tell struggling folks that there are many questions for which there are no answers. Why people struggle with those questions is beyond me. Perhaps, I’m too stupid to be interested in stuff I know we cannot fathom. Thanks for always thinking of me. One day, that magic carpet will take me away. And I’ll be damned if I won’t be grinning about Zeeb and The Magic Carpet! I’m sure the nurses will think it’s the ramblings of the dying. Don’t you bet? Haha!

      Liked by 1 person

      • yes, you are so right. a few days ago, someone wrote a post, RIP, in honor of a musician that had died. i pondered that saying and i hurriedly penned something on notepad to ‘hold’ my thoughts before they vaporized like a dream..

        there’s no way i want to ‘rest in peace unless i’ve been suffering and bed ridden and tormented.. i hope that i soar thru the universe and see everything i missed.. and visit other planets/galaxies and ponder life there.. to see fish soaring in the sky and butterflies swimming beneath the wate and to see colors i never dreamed existed… no, i don’t want to rest forever on an idyllic hillock, let me ride that magic carpet and squeeze the most out of eternity! i’ll reserve a set for you on that magic carpet!


  2. Marvelous poem. It is so unique… I would consider it transcendental, the way we’re able to share intimacy through the reading and writing of poetry… that she wrote that poem… and that it spoke to you, and for you maybe… and you shared it with us… and it spoke for us too. thank you, with best wishes, whole heartedly… shimon.

    Liked by 2 people


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