The Story, Around the Corner

By Naomi Shihab Nye b. 1952
is not turning the way you thought
it would turn, gently, in a little spiral loop,   
the way a child draws the tail of a pig.
What came out of your mouth,
a riff of common talk.
As a sudden weather shift on a beach,
sky looming mountains of cloud
in a way you cannot predict
or guide, the story shuffles elements, darkens,   
takes its own side. And it is strange.
Far more complicated than a few phrases
pieced together around a kitchen table
on a July morning in Dallas, say,
a city you don’t live in, where people
might shop forever or throw a thousand stories   
away. You who carried or told a tiny bit of it   
aren’t sure. Is this what we wanted?
Stories wandering out,
having their own free lives?
Maybe they are planning something bad.
A scrap or cell of talk you barely remember
is growing into a weird body with many demands.   
One day soon it will stumble up the walk and knock,   
knock hard, and you will have to answer the door.

Naomi Shihab Nye, “The Story, around the Corner” from You and Yours. Copyright © 2005 by Naomi Shihab Nye. Reprinted with the permission of BOA Editions Ltd., www.boaeditions.org.

Source: You & Yours (BOA Editions Ltd., 2005)

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Poet Naomi Shihab Nye b. 1952

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 Naomi Shihab Nye

Biography

Naomi Shihab Nye was born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1952. Her father was a Palestinian refugee and her mother an American of German and Swiss descent, and Nye spent her adolescence in both Jerusalem and San Antonio, Texas. Her experience of both cultural difference and different cultures has influenced much of her work. Known for poetry that lends a fresh perspective to ordinary events, people, and objects, Nye has said that, . . .

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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