Truth Serum

By Naomi Shihab Nye b. 1952
We made it from the ground-up corn in the old back pasture.
Pinched a scent of night jasmine billowing off the fence,   
popped it right in.
That frog song wanting nothing but echo?   
We used that.
Stirred it widely. Noticed the clouds while stirring.
Called upon our ancient great aunts and their long slow eyes   
of summer. Dropped in their names.   
Added a mint leaf now and then   
to hearten the broth. Added a note of cheer and worry.   
Orange butterfly between the claps of thunder?   
Perfect. And once we had it,
had smelled and tasted the fragrant syrup,   
placing the pan on a back burner for keeping,   
the sorrow lifted in small ways.
We boiled down the lies in another pan till they disappeared.
We washed that pan.

Naomi Shihab Nye, “Truth Serum” 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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