Three Poems by Ananda Lima


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Sitting by the Hudson*

Rio was never home
until I got far enough
for home to expand into a whole country
Before then
it was just river
in the beginning of a sentence
or in front of a proper name
like Doce

And Rio Doce
was then just water
flowing through a valley
covered with
if not milk
and if not the honey
implied in its name
it was home
if not for me, then
for the men of Mariana
I see crying on a screen


*“Sitting by the Hudson” was written as a response to news of the rupture of a dam releasing toxic Mud over Valle do Rio Doce, Brazil (

Vacation Bed

So as not to wake you
I unzipped just enough
to slide my hand
past the hard shell
of the suitcase
As I felt
I forgot
that all I wanted
was a notebook
a pen
and socks
to go for a walk
I made out the outline
of the buttons
on your father’s shirt
and the clean soles
of the high heels
I know I’ll never wear
then twirled my fingers
around shoelaces
you can’t yet tie
and sailed my hands over
the smooth plastic
of a ship
to which I didn’t hold the key
I cupped a sleeping lion
stroked its mane
pried open its mouth
and as I felt
its plush little teeth
take a nip at me
you shifted
and I laid the animal
back on its pillow of t-shirts
without a roar
and when you reached
with your little boy hand
towards the space beside you
I was already back there
sucking on the tiny spot
of blood on my index finger
and adjusting the blanket
that kept us

Ananda Lima’s work has appeared in The American Poetry Review, The Offing and is to appear in LIGO Magazine and The Heavy Feather Review. She holds an MA in Linguistics from UCLA, was selected an AWP Writer to Writer mentee and has attended workshops at Bread Loaf, Sewanee and Tin House. Ananda is currently working on a novel set in Brasilia, where she grew up as the daughter of migrants from Northeast Brazil, as well as a poetry collection centered on identity in immigration and motherhood. Find her at

Posted on February 2, 2017 .