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Ada Limón couldn't get pregnant, then realized: 'What if my body was only my body?' : Wild Card with Rachel Martin

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Ada Limón couldn't get pregnant, then realized: 'What if my body was only my body?' : Wild Card with Rachel Martin

Ada Limón says she was swimming in Chesapeake Bay when she had a moment of feeling, “What if my body was only my body?”

Lucas Marquardt


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Lucas Marquardt


Ada Limón says she was swimming in Chesapeake Bay when she had a moment of feeling, “What if my body was only my body?”

Lucas Marquardt

A note from Wild Card host Rachel Martin: I went looking for a few lines that could attempt to represent the whole of U.S. Poet Laureate Ada Limón’s work. I don’t think I succeeded because her poems are so full and touch on so much – from the natural world to very personal longing. But I think this gets close:

Look, we are not unspectacular things.
We’ve come this far, survived this much. What

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would happen if we decided to survive more, to love harder?

This is a line from the poem Dead Stars and I love it because here you see her acknowledge the hard stuff of living, but it’s embedded in perseverance and optimism.

“What would happen if we decided to survive more, to love harder?” I read that and I’m like, “Yes Ada. I’m all in. Let’s at least try, right?” She is urging us to keep going and it’s not a prescription from on high, she’s right here with us reaching for another day.

Ada is one of those people who can recognize all the ways we inflict pain on one another, not to mention our planet, without getting consumed by it. She writes in that space between grief and joy, and I love that space.

Writing from that space is one thing — talking from there is quite another, which is why I was moved when Ada used one of the questions in our game to talk about something incredibly personal. And in her story you’ll hear echoes of that same line of poetry: “What would happen if we decided to survive more, to love harder?”

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I spoke to Ada just before the publication of You Are Here: Poetry in the Natural World, a collection of poems she edited and introduced, featuring the work of Joy Harjo, Diane Seuss, Jericho Brown and more.

This Wild Card interview has been edited for length and clarity. Host Rachel Martin asks guests randomly-selected questions from a deck of cards. Tap play above to listen to the full podcast, or read an excerpt below.

Question 1: What’s a smell that brings back a vivid memory for you?

Ada Limón: My grandfather and grandmother on my mother’s side made dueling types of fudge. My grandfather’s was a hard sort of old-fashioned kind of fudge and my grandmother’s was a soft fudge like See’s Candy.

My favorite thing was to go into their walk-in cupboard, and they would have all of their Tupperware full of their different kinds of fudge for guests and things. And you could smell it. You couldn’t reach it, unfortunately, but you could smell it.

Rachel Martin: Did you spend a lot of time with them growing up?

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Limón: I did, yes. And my grandmother just died last August and she’s been on my mind a lot. So I think that she’s with me in my heart.

Martin: Was she a lover of poetry?

Limón: She did like poetry, although she was very confused that not all my poems rhymed. I told her that some of them do. And when my grandfather passed away, she asked me to write a poem for him and I made it rhyme.

Question 2: When’s the last time you forgave yourself for something?

Limón: This morning. I’ve been traveling a lot and it’s been beautiful. And this morning I was doing yoga, which I try to do every morning, and I was just very stiff. I felt like I hadn’t been moving as much as I should and I was very hard on myself. And then I told myself, “You were doing amazing things. You were doing other things that mattered and it’s OK.”

I think it’s very important because early on I thought all of self care was really more self punishing.

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Martin: What does that mean?

Limón: Oh, I just felt like if I miss a day of working out, or if I feast too much and enjoy too much, I’ll have to go into…

Martin: Deprivation mode.

Limón:. Yes, exactly. And I just don’t do that anymore. I think that’s been really healthy for me because I feel like you spend a lot of your twenties and thirties, at least for me, trying to do everything right. And the nice thing about being in my mid-to-late forties is that I forgive myself all the time. I have to.

Question 3: Have you ever had a premonition about something that came true?

Limón: 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. And I think it actually helped me to make some decisions to not move forward with any more of the treatments.

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

Martin: That’s right.

Limón: 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.

Martin: Did you have a specific dream, or was it just a knowing in your bones?

Limón: 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? And it was just mine.

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Martin: We never talk about it that way.

Limón: I had 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? What if just my body, what if these boundaries and these borders of my skin touching the water, was enough?

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Swanky airport lounges are arriving at LAX, like this Chase one. But who can get in?

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Swanky airport lounges are arriving at LAX, like this Chase one. But who can get in?

While a swanky airport lounge can’t alleviate Los Angeles International Airport’s infamous curbside gridlock, it can make it become a more distant memory.

The latest predeparture sanctuary that will land at LAX? It’s from a company best known for its bank branches. Chase announced on Thursday it will open a 9,234-square-foot Sapphire Lounge at Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT), near Gate 148. An opening date was not shared.

Dana Pouwels, head of airport lounge benefits and strategic partnerships for Chase, said the company is investing in meeting its customers where they are.

“Los Angeles is home to many cardmembers and a popular destination among Chase travelers,” Pouwels said. “And as a native Angeleno who frequently travels through LAX to visit home, I’m excited to bring a Chase Sapphire Lounge to my home city.”

Based on renderings, the premium Chase space will feature expansive tarmac views — a first for a lounge in TBIT’s main concourse — along with a dramatic waterfall-style chandelier above a granite and wood bar. While Chase was mum on proposed amenities, if it’s anything like the company’s other lounges now at five airports, expect it to skew higher-end.

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The first U.S. Sapphire Lounge for Chase debuted in Boston one year ago. Features include a gourmet buffet and à la carte dining (their Sapphire burger is a particular standout); dedicated wellness and shower rooms; and a residential-inspired design meant for both work and leisure. Meanwhile, the LaGuardia Airport location in New York that opened earlier this year even offers complimentary facials and ultra-high-end private suites (for a hefty additional fee).

Pouwels said the “space will pay homage to Los Angeles while embodying local modern elements that celebrate the culture of the city.”

To get unlimited access to Chase Sapphire Lounges in the U.S., travelers must be enrolled in the $550-per-year Chase Sapphire Reserve with Priority Pass membership. Those with a Priority Pass membership from another premium travel credit card (such as an Amex Platinum or Capital One Venture X) can enter a U.S. Sapphire Lounge once each calendar year at no cost.

Currently, there are no Priority Pass-accessible lounges at LAX, so Chase’s lounge will be a boon to a wide range of travelers once open.

The airport lounge wars continue

Lounge competition is fierce, especially among the major credit card companies. Access has widened dramatically in recent years as issuers push for premium card sign-ups and build out their own branded spaces. While that means more crowded lounges, it also means more options for travelers.

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in 2013, American Express entered the business of owning and operating airport lounges with the Centurion network. More recently, Chase’s Sapphire portfolio and Capital One’s lounges are the answer to the incumbent.

At LAX, Amex opened its Centurion Lounge in 2020, just a few steps away from Chase’s future site. The nearly 14,000-square-foot area features a variety of luxe amenities, including a bespoke food menu from executive chef Nancy Silverton, a spa area with chair massages and mini-manicures, and shower suites.

Dave Jones, deputy executive director of commercial development at Los Angeles World Airports, says that lounges improve the travel experience, especially as the airport redevelops. “LAX looks forward to providing our guests with more lounge options based on their consumer preferences, as well as accommodating the growing demand for lounge access,” he said.

Other LAX lounges in the pipeline

Chase isn’t the only player set to open a new lounge at the airport. Air France will unveil its first-ever LAX lounge at TBIT on June 21.

A carrier spokesperson said L.A. is one of the “most important markets for Air France” and is part of a wider global investment in lounges. When it opens, the LAX location will become the sixth Air France lounge in the U.S., joining Washington-Dulles, Houston Intercontinental, San Francisco, New York JFK and Boston.

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Meanwhile, over at Terminal 4, Delta Air Lines will open a high-end Delta One Lounge by the end of 2024. It will feature an outdoor terrace, over 10,000 square feet of space, and a seamless connection from an exclusive check-in area for Delta One passengers.

It’s part of the carrier’s strategy to offer a new “premium” tier of amenities for international business-class guests. “Premium lounge customers should feel welcomed and known when they walk in the door, just as they would at their favorite hotel or restaurant,” said Claude Roussel, vice president of Sky Club and lounge experience at Delta.

The first Delta One lounge will open in New York in late June.

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NPR’s Morning Edition invites your thoughts on marriage

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NPR’s Morning Edition invites your thoughts on marriage

For our upcoming summer series, NPR’s Morning Edition wants to hear your thoughts on marriage.

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Aleksandr Zubkov/Getty Images

This summer, Morning Edition brings you a series on love and marriage!

Whether married or not, we want to hear from you! Fill out the form below and someone from our team may reach out to hear more. You can also upload your responses as a voice memo, while keeping each answer to less than a minute. Please submit responses by Sunday, June 16 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time.

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Your submission will be governed by our general Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. As the Privacy Policy says, we want you to be aware that there may be circumstances in which the exemptions provided under law for journalistic activities or freedom of expression may override privacy rights you might otherwise have.

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Female hitman used hijab disguise in attempt to wipe out Birmingham family

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Female hitman used hijab disguise in attempt to wipe out Birmingham family
A hired killer from the US disguised herself with a hijab before trying to shoot dead a man and his family in Birmingham, a court has heard. Aimee Betro, 44, a hitwoman from Chicago, was hired by Mohammed Nazir, 30, and his father Mohammed Aslam, 56, to carry out a revenge killing against the owner of a boutique clothing store and his family. But M…
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