Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2010-11

This entry is part 2 of 95 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2010-11

Last week on Facebook, Luisa mentioned that November 20 would mark the completion of her first year of writing daily poems in response to The Morning Porch. I questioned the “daily” part: after that first poem on November 20, 2010, I saw (and posted) two more at the end of the month, and then one on December 15 before we started posting them every day on December 18, a full month later. Luisa replied that she had been writing poems; she just hadn’t been sharing them with me. After considerable digging around, she found them all, and we present them here as a special treat and thank-you to all of Luisa’s readers on Via Negativa. —Dave

November 21, 2010
Based on TMP Nov 21 2009


What we rake out of the undersides
of things, all gray and bedraggled
like drier lint scraped from the mesh—
Who knew there was a piece of gum
stuck to the zipper plate, six or seven
odd dollars now laundered clean,
caught in the back pocket of
your favorite jeans? This is how
I found a letter explaining my
origins— cleaning out the back
of my father’s closets, sorting
through stacks of yellowed journals,
faded correspondence from his
years of lawyering. The niece
who wrote it (handwritten date
six or seven months after my birth)
inquired about our new home up
north, asked how the baby (me)
and mother (not my mother, but
her younger sister) were doing,
and ended with the wish my parents
would be blessed with their own
child someday. I remember I sat
down in the middle of cleaning
to digest that bit of news, to read
over the careful handwriting once
again, bits of dust and rolls of
newsprint, old issues of Time
and Life from years and years
ago, there gathered at my feet.


This entry is part 3 of 95 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2010-11

Windy, with mottled gray
and white clouds, and a muddy
yellow smudge for sun: as in
a fingerpainting—and a siskin’s
sharp-edged note to peel the first
layer of morning away from darker
dark. Here, too, I tense and quicken
toward what might haul and bear
me over from the depths. Up
from the underground cistern,
the bucket pitches and sways;
above, that patch of sky
and the wind’s wide hands,
writing and rewriting
what the day might be.


High winds stir the trees like surf.
The racket they make is counterpoint
to the quiet I want to make in my heart.
There, a dead branch crashes
every few minutes. But yes—
even there, birds forage: their small
hungers, twittering like blue
flames in the birches.

Luisa Igloria


This entry is part 4 of 95 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2010-11

What leaf is small and black and falls
more slowly than a feather?

What ink washes deeper blue
then sable as it nears the shore?

What crystal spangles every
lidded eye on trees and bushes?

What letter writes itself over
and over in the wind?

A fire dances up in the trash burner,
the brightest thing.

Luisa Igloria


This one borrows lines from my Morning Porch entry of October 21, 2008. (The title is my own.) Thanks, Luisa!

This entry is part 5 of 95 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2010-11

I watch crows circle a dark carcass
a hundred yards off through the woods.
Only this white backdrop could make
bearable, the way the elements
have chosen whatever’s returned
as offering to the wheel. In spring
or summer we’ll come across its bones
under new growth of grass, bleached
white as stars that filter light
all this way through nets of trees.

Luisa Igloria

Borrowing lines from the Morning Porch entry for December 13.

This entry is part 7 of 95 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2010-11

On otherwise lifeless
tansy stalks, a green sprig
and a single yolk-

colored bloom. Snowflakes
drift past: far-flung voyagers,
their exile brief, their nostalgia

cut and crystalled with salt.
Harbor me in cold earth,
my winter lover. I long

for home most of all
when small birds come
to forage for seed

and light sieves
through cracks
in stones.

Luisa A. Igloria

Borrowing lines from the Morning Porch entry for December 4.

This entry is part 8 of 95 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2010-11

How do we know the brown creeper fishing
in the dark valleys of the walnut tree’s bark
could not tell this landscape

from the moon’s? Past midnight, we craned
our necks toward the heavens’ gathered dark
and saw the shadow-play of bodies

entering each other’s path: the brief
interruption and embrace of light
by dark and dark by light, the face

of one passing over the other when
they’re perfectly aligned. Then
without rancor, without remorse

the plumb line lifts— and it seems
the world is as it was before, though all
that has transpired has changed

even the color of the morning sky.

Luisa A. Igloria

In response to today’s Morning Porch entry.

This entry is part 10 of 95 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2010-11

Here, too, the air fills more often now with the sudden
spasm of wings— pausing at the junction for the light

to change, you wonder about metaphors,
about how starlings wheel in unison: at first,

a ribbon wound round and round the milky
breasts of hills, and then no more

than a tiny constellation stippling the sky;
how everything’s feathered by the rhythm

of its own wind, rising and falling
even after the gears have turned.

Luisa A. Igloria

In response to today’s Morning Porch entry.