Naomi Shihab Nye

(12 March 1952 / St. Louis, Missouri)

Making A Fist - Poem by Naomi Shihab Nye

We forget that we are all dead men conversing wtih dead men.
—Jorge Luis Borges

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.


Comments about Making A Fist by Naomi Shihab Nye

  • Rajesh Thankappan Rajesh Thankappan (6/1/2016 10:20:00 PM)

    A very touching poem indeed. The road of life often offers bumpy ride and if we can negotiate it, well done! (Report) Reply

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  • * Sunprincess * (2/11/2016 7:05:00 PM)

    ...........excellent poem....I could never ride in the back seat again ★ (Report) Reply

  • Pranab K Chakraborty Pranab K Chakraborty (2/2/2013 8:46:00 PM)

    Beautiful. The doctrine to fix the fist of existence. It's a feast of positive thought.........................................................Pranab k c (Report) Reply

  • Savita Tyagi (2/2/2013 10:50:00 AM)

    Very nice! A mother's simple loving conversation can stay with a child for ever. (Report) Reply

  • Felix Nazario (2/8/2008 9:03:00 AM)

    Yea................ >.< (Report) Reply

  • Mika Nakishima (11/27/2007 7:01:00 PM)

    very...nice......really nice...i wish naomi didnt use religions in it tho -_- (Report) Reply

Read all 6 comments »



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Read poems about / on: journey, car, smile, mother, time, life, travel, tree



Poem Submitted: Monday, January 20, 2003

Poem Edited: Wednesday, January 4, 2012


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