Writing

Imagine a reader who categorically dislikes poetry. Choose a poem we have read for class for that person to read, and, addressing your skeptical reader, explain in a short essay the ways in which this particular poem rewards a careful reader. Include a copy of the poem and properly cite it (MLA style). No work-cited page required for this essay.

“Making a Fist”

Making a Fist

by Naomi Shihab Nye

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.

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