The Shelter of Love


Image from Unsplash by J W

After reading this poem by Poet Laureate, Ada Limón, recall someone in your life who made you feel warmth, comfort, and a feeling of protection.

Limón hosts the podcast series “The Slowdown” from American Public Media, She serves on the faculty of Queens University of Charlotte Low Residency MFA program.


The Raincoat

Ada Limón


When the doctor suggested surgery

and a brace for all my youngest years,

my parents scrambled to take me

to massage therapy, deep tissue work,

osteopathy, and soon my crooked spine

unspooled a bit, I could breathe again,

and move more in a body unclouded

by pain. My mom would tell me to sing

songs to her the whole forty-five minute

drive to Middle Two Rock Road and forty-

five minutes back from physical therapy.

She’d say, even my voice sounded unfettered

by my spine afterward. So I sang and sang,

because I thought she liked it. I never

asked her what she gave up to drive me,

or how her day was before this chore. Today,

at her age, I was driving myself home from yet

another spine appointment, singing along

to some maudlin but solid song on the radio,

and I saw a mom take her raincoat off

and give it to her young daughter when

a storm took over the afternoon. My god,

I thought, my whole life I’ve been under her

raincoat thinking it was somehow a marvel

that I never got wet.


From The Carrying (Milkweed Editions, 2018) by Ada Limón.