cover image The Hurting Kind

The Hurting Kind

Ada Lim%C3%B3n.. Milkweed, $22 (128p) ISBN 978-1-63955-049-4

The tender, arresting sixth collection from Limón (The Carrying) is an ode to the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth that characterizes the natural world. The work is divided into four sections (after the four seasons), and is frequently set in the poet’s garden. In this Edenic location, Limón observes the flora and fauna, which can lead to personal revelations. In “Foaling Season,” the speaker describes a pasture full of mares and their foals, which allows her to reflect on her decision not to have children. Limón’s descriptions of animals are richly evocative; a groundhog is “a liquidity moving, all muscle and bristle... slippery and waddle-thieving my tomatoes.” The title poem movingly pays homage to the poet’s family and ancestors as she recalls how her grandparents told her “never/ to kill a California King, benevolent/ as they were, equanimous like earth or sky, not// toothy like the dog Chaco who barked/ at nearly every train whistle or roadrunner.” In the “Summer” section, Limón contemplates cockroaches and spiderwort, then briefly recalls a trip to Argentina before declaring, “And now the world is gone. No more Buenos Aires or Santiago.” Limón’s crystalline language is a feast for the senses, bringing monumental significance to the minuscule and revealing life in every blade of grass. (May)