Skip to main content
By Naomi Shihab Nye

We made it from the ground-up corn in the old back pasture.

Pinched a scent of night jasmine billowing off the fence,   

popped it right in.

That frog song wanting nothing but echo?   

We used that.

Stirred it widely. Noticed the clouds while stirring.

Called upon our ancient great aunts and their long slow eyes   

of summer. Dropped in their names.   

Added a mint leaf now and then   

to hearten the broth. Added a note of cheer and worry.   

Orange butterfly between the claps of thunder?   

Perfect. And once we had it,

had smelled and tasted the fragrant syrup,   

placing the pan on a back burner for keeping,   

the sorrow lifted in small ways.

We boiled down the lies in another pan till they disappeared.

We washed that pan.


Naomi Shihab Nye, “Truth Serum” from You and Yours. Copyright © 2005 by Naomi Shihab Nye. Reprinted with the permission of BOA Editions Ltd., www.boaeditions.org.

Source: You & Yours (BOA Editions Ltd., 2005)

Poet Bio

Naomi Shihab Nye
Naomi Shihab Nye’s mixed heritage—her father is Palestinian, her mother is American—shapes the subjects of her poetry. Through mostly free verse, Nye often writes about everyday life while addressing cultural issues. Nye has traveled extensively, including to the Middle East and Asia to promote goodwill through the arts. She is the Poetry Foundation's Young People's Poet Laureate.

More By This Poet