To the woman who handed over
a folded note, I have enough time
—on a thin slip of pinkish paper,
no name or address—you’re first
in mind this January 1.
Where did we meet?
You smiled shyly, stepped away.
Do you pass that note often?
Was it a singular moment?
Maybe you’re a friend dropping lines
when you detect a listener.
And what am I?
There’s a fine soup
to be made of every minute.
A way to stand and stir
so no one catches what you’re doing.
And there’s a sea of gloom
so close under the skin
that loves the taunt of a crisp new year.
Here, this fresh morning
and every to follow,
cabinet of stacked white
bowls, shines wide and plenty.
Each square of calendar
opens its hungry mouth.

by Naomi Shihab Nye

‘Moment’ is copyright © Naomi Shihab Nye, 2011. It is reprinted by permission of BOA Editions from Naomi Shihab Nye’s latest book of poems Transfer (BOA, 2011).

Notes from BOA Editions:

Naomi Shihab Nye, poet, essayist, anthologist, has been a recipient of writing fellowships from the Lannan Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation and the Witter Bynner Foundation/Library of Congress. Author or editor of more than thirty volumes, her most recent collection of poems, Transfer, was published by BOA Editions, Ltd. in September of 2011, and is a Finalist for the Helen C. Smith Memorial Award (more details here). She has read her work on National Public Radio’s Prairie Home Companion. Poetry editor for The Texas Observer, Nye has worked as a visiting writer in schools at all educational levels. She is currently serving on the Board of Chancellors for the Academy of American Poets. She lives in San Antonio, Texas.

You can read another poem from the collection here, learn more about Nye’s work in a 2002 interview with PBS host Bill Moyers at this link, and watch her read her found poem ‘One Boy Told Me’ here.

BOA Editions, Ltd., a not-for-profit publisher of poetry and other literary works, fosters readership and appreciation of contemporary literature. By identifying, cultivating, and publishing both new and established poets and selecting authors of unique literary talent, BOA brings high quality literature to the public. Support for this effort comes from the sale of its publications, grant funding, and private donations. In 2011, BOA celebrated its thirty-fifth anniversary. To find out more about BOA Editions, click here. You can also sign up for the publisher’s newsletter here, find and ‘like’ BOA on Facebook, and follow the publisher on Twitter by searching for @boaeditions.

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