Dear moisture, dear nearly soundless
rain that falls all night to turn the fields
into sheets of soggy Canson paper, the reeds
are soaking their feet in sepia. Some nights
I’ve roused from sleep to hear your sharp
artillery deflecting from roofs and windowpanes;
other times, almost unlikely, you’ve warmed
the glass to make trees loom and fade through fog
while in the distance, streams carol like frogs.
In monsoon months you’ve painted maps with mold,
new worlds of islands in swirly skirts, darkening
at the hems with salt water; you wrote to me
a daily script on the ceiling that I tried to read,
lying in bed at night. I’ve put away those letters,
pretending I didn’t know your other names
and how they all spell willfulness, swift change,
precipitous and unpredictable nature.
Tantalus wants just a bite of fruit from the bough,
washed down by a chaser; and the Danaids
only want to be done with that never-ending
business of filling and emptying those joke-store
jars pre-riddled with holes. When I was seventeen,
confused and green, my ex- took me hiking, then
at the summit leered “Don’t tell me you don’t know
what I want.” But the clouds shifted— I’m not
making this up— We were drenched, a thunderstorm
had saved me. You know the feeling, when every pore
is saturated with dampness and maybe a sliver
of wistfulness or longing; and there’s not
a towel in sight, not a hair-dryer, not a clean
dry sheet smelling simply of air and light.
—Luisa A. Igloria
02 28 2011
In response to today’s Morning Porch entry.
Poet Luisa A. Igloria (Poetry Foundation web page, author webpage ) is the winner of the 2015 Resurgence Prize (UK), the world’s first major award for ecopoetry, selected by former UK poet laureate Sir Andrew Motion, Alice Oswald, and Jo Shapcott. She is the author of What is Left of Wings, I Ask (2018 Center for the Book Arts Letterpress Chapbook Prize, selected by Natasha Trethewey); 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), and nine other books. She is a member of the core faculty of the MFA Creative Writing Program at Old Dominion University which she directed from 2009-2015. In 2018, she was the inaugural Glasgow Distinguished Writer in Residence at Washington and Lee University. When she isn’t writing, reading, or teaching, she cooks with her family, knits, hand-binds books, and listens to tango music.