Published on Academy of American Poets (

The Conditional

Say tomorrow doesn't come.
Say the moon becomes an icy pit.
Say the sweet-gum tree is petrified.
Say the sun's a foul black tire fire.
Say the owl's eyes are pinpricks.
Say the raccoon's a hot tar stain.
Say the shirt's plastic ditch-litter.
Say the kitchen's a cow's corpse.
Say we never get to see it: bright
future, stuck like a bum star, never
coming close, never dazzling.
Say we never meet her. Never him.
Say we spend our last moments staring
at each other, hands knotted together,
clutching the dog, watching the sky burn.
Say, It doesn't matter. Say, That would be
enough. Say you'd still want this: us alive,
right here, feeling lucky.


Copyright © 2013 by Ada Limón . Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on March 14, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

About this Poem

"There is so much to worry about. All the time, so much worry. Here, I wanted to take all the worry as far out as I could and then stamp it out under the heavy black boot of love."
—Ada Limón


Ada Limón

Ada Limón is the author of The Carrying (Milkweed Editions, 2018) and Bright Dead Things (Milkweed Editions, 2015), which was a finalist for the National Book Award.

Date Published: 2013-03-14

Source URL: