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Weekly Poem: ‘Cinco de Mayo’

By Naomi Shihab Nye


If this is your birthday and you are dead,
do we stay silent as the sheet
you died under? No. You always talked.
Here’s a thick white candle whispering.
Pour birdseed into feeders.
Speak up, speak up.

Tell me where they go, my friend said,
in the same pain. I touched her shoulder.
Here, right here. You’re closer than
you ever were — takes a while to know that.
Every scrap of DNA, he’s listening.
There’s a way not to be broken
that takes brokenness to find it.

Naomi Shihab Nye is the author of several books of poems, including most recently, You “Transfer” (BOA Editions, 2011) and “Yours” (BOA Editions, 2005), which received the Isabella Gardner Poetry Award. Watch the NewsHour’s profile of Nye here.

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