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Making A Fist
Naomi Shihab Nye
For the first time, on the road north of Tampico,
I felt the life sliding out of me,
"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.