The child says: At five, I wake because
the bird starts singing in the dark.
The wind is wordless when it peals, unlike
cathedral bells struck to ringing in the dark.
What does it say? she wants to know. Empty
your pockets, begin unburdening in the dark.
I’ve slipped from one love to another— some robes
are tight; it’s hard undoing stays in the dark.
And the bridal-wreath bush glows brighter than the sheen
of a rising moon, clearing the tops of trees in the dark.
What is the wind saying now? Leave your personal history behind
like a too-small shoe, or else you’re always fumbling in the dark.
And what of the bird? It’s always there. It never leaves. Old age,
sickness, death underline its caroling— Dear child, awake in the dark.
—Luisa A. Igloria
04 16 2012