“One Boy Told Me” by Naomi Shihab Nye

Music lives inside my legs.
It’s coming out when I talk.

I’m going to send my valentines
to people you don’t even know.

Oatmeal cookies make my throat gallop.

Grown-ups keep their feet on the ground
when they swing. I hate that.

Look at those 2 o’s with a smash in the middle—
that spells good-bye.

Don’t ever say “purpose” again,
let’s throw the word out.

Don’t talk big to me.
I’m carrying my box of faces.
If I want to change faces I will.

Yesterday faded
but tomorrow’s in BOLDFACE.

When I grow up my old names
will live in the house
where we live now.
I’ll come and visit them.

Only one of my eyes is tired.
The other eye and my body aren’t.

Is it true all metal was liquid first?
Does that mean if we bought our car earlier
they could have served it
in a cup?

There’s a stopper in my arm
that’s not going to let me grow any bigger.
I’ll be like this always, small.

And I will be deep water too.
Wait. Just wait. How deep is the river?
Would it cover the tallest man with his hands in the air?

Your head is a souvenir.

When you were in New York I could see you
in real life walking in my mind.

I’ll invite a bee to live in your shoe.
What if you found your shoe
full of honey?

What if the clock said 6:92
instead of 6:30? Would you be scared?

My tongue is the car wash
for the spoon.

Can noodles swim?

My toes are dictionaries.
Do you need any words?

From now on I’ll only drink white milk
on January 26.

What does minus mean?
I never want to minus you.

Just think—no one has ever seen
inside this peanut before!

It is hard being a person.

I do and don’t love you—
isn’t that happiness?

Naomi Shihab Nye, “One Boy Told Me” from Fuel. Copyright © 1998 by Naomi  Shihab Nye. (BOA Editions, Ltd., 1998).


9 thoughts on ““One Boy Told Me” by Naomi Shihab Nye

    1. Kids say the most awesome things, don’t they? I had the best conversation with a five-year old on an airplane one day. Her imagination was vivid and contagious. What all of ours could be if we didn’t let the rules of life and society and physics distort and destroy it.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. Jean

    I love Naomi Shihab Nye. This is a darling poem. Really like the photo, oh it’s a video! – awesome! of her you posted. Thank You, Christina! I like the way she mixed it up for that audience! We don’t ever want to be minus, you, Christina! ❤ .


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