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U.S. Poet Laureate Ada Limon answers a Wild Card question


Each week, a well-known guest draws a card from our Wild Card deck and answers a big question about their life. This week, we hear from U.S. poet laureate Ada Limon, who just edited a new collection of poetry about the natural world called "You Are Here." She spoke with Wild Card host Rachel Martin.


RACHEL MARTIN, BYLINE: Pick a card - one, two or three.


MARTIN: Three. Oh. Have you ever had a premonition about something that came true?

LIMON: I'm a big dreamer, and my dream world is so...

MARTIN: Like, literally and figuratively.

LIMON: Yes, like...

MARTIN: But you mean, like, literally.

LIMON: ...Sleeping dreams.


LIMON: And so I think that those moments can be slippery for me, whether they were premonitions or if they were dreams. But there's a few times. One of them has been - I think that I knew that we weren't going to be able to conceive a child before we decided to give up on fertility treatments. I think I knew that.


LIMON: And I think it actually helped me to make some decisions to not move forward with any more of the treatments. And so I think I just knew. It felt like my body knew something, and it was able to offer me another option and another future. And it felt like, OK, now what else is possible?


LIMON: Because I think as women in our culture, the only possibility oftentimes offered to us is motherhood.

MARTIN: That's right.

LIMON: And I felt very bound by that. And letting that go was really freeing. And I love my life, and I love being child-free. And I think that premonition offered that before I even knew it.

MARTIN: Did you have a specific dream? Or it was just a knowing in your bones?

LIMON: I was floating in the Chesapeake Bay, and I just had this moment of feeling, what if my body was only my body? And it felt really powerful. What if it didn't belong to anyone else...


LIMON: ...And it was just mine?

MARTIN: We never talk about it that way.

LIMON: I'd never felt it that way. All I wanted was to carry something in me - a baby, a child. And then it was so freeing. And I got out of the ocean. I remember thinking, that was beautiful. Like, what if I'm enough?


LIMON: What if just my body - what if these boundaries and these borders of my skin touching the water was enough?


MARTIN: Ada Limon - she is the 24th United States Poet Laureate. Her latest project is a book of poems about the natural world called "You Are Here." Ada, what a joy it was to have this conversation with you. Thank you so much for doing it.

LIMON: Thank you so much, Rachel. What a delight.

KELLY: What a conversation. You can hear much more of it on NPR's new podcast, Wild Card. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Rachel Martin is a host of Morning Edition, as well as NPR's morning news podcast Up First.