Luisa A. Igloria

Poet Luisa A. Igloria (website) is the author of 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.

Our bodies, someday, will have to wear stone.
Though I’ve read, in Japan, now they have built
vertical cities for the dead, skyscrapers

where your ashes might lie in an urn next to mine,
in a cubicle smaller than the ones traveling salesmen
slide into at a kapuseru hoteru— stacks

of coffin-size rooms with one sheet and a pillow.
Perhaps in that still largely unpredictable future,
there might no longer be enough land to house

the bones of the departed, no more room for crypts
and mausoleums on green memorial lawns. I pass one
on the way to a friend’s house, where stone angels

and cherubs hold scrolls or lyres or wreaths. Soon,
there may not be room for them either. But that
is the way the earth goes, and so eventually the body:

everything folding away, becoming smaller; practicing
for final erasure— only a tiny air plant or brown moth
hovering in the vicinity of that last resting place.


In response to Via Negativa: Geophagy.