Luisa A. Igloria

Poet Luisa A. Igloria (website) is the author of Bright as Mirrors Left in the Grass (Kudzu House Press eChapbook selection for Spring 2015), Ode to the Heart Smaller than a Pencil Eraser (Utah State University Press, 2014 May Swenson Prize), Night Willow (Phoenicia Publishing, 2014), The Saints of Streets (University of Santo Tomas Publishing House, 2013), Juan Luna’s Revolver (2009 Ernest Sandeen Prize, University of Notre Dame Press), Trill & Mordent (WordTech Editions, 2005) and 8 other books.

When she isn’t writing, reading, or teaching, she cooks with her family, hand-binds books, listens to tango music, and keeps her radar tuned for cool lizard sightings.

“You whose name is aggressor and devourer.” ~ Czeslaw Milosz

You whose name is Eigengrau, intrinsic grey in perfect darkness,
intrinsic light made to wear a uniform of drab in the open-air—
When I heard you fumbling among the crates and boxes I hid
in sheets of newsprint, panicked at first I cowered

in my own darkness and muted my breath. When you took
me from myself I learned to adjust sight to the optic
edges, learned to gather pinpricks from among the softer
gradients. I don’t refute you, in the way one never

can refute the looming presence of that teacher,
the one who made you kneel on dry beans
on the dusty schoolroom floor, your punishment
for refusing to take to heart his lessons.

This entry is part 19 of 19 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Spring 2015

meaning the mouth
unhinged, gone slack,
open, unguarded— perhaps

the soul dumbstruck
or riven by lightning;
a tunnel in a mountainside

into which the wind, the night,
the feeble light by the roadside,
and a blind seam of winged

insects can go careening:
meaning a thing has moved,
casualty of wonder.


In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

Eat, says the matriarch. Have you eaten?
say the elders in lieu of hello. It takes years
before you understand: each grain under the tongue,
each mouthful of rice wine protects— Since your breath
has warmed the pocked bowl of the spoon, the goats
will take salt from your hands. Clotheslines sag
with the weight of damp coats and ghost hands.
You know when the sky turns milky, when the house
fills with the sound of mandibles clicking. Eat,
they tell you again. Our troubles are nothing.


In response to Via Negativa: Surfeit.