Dear alley bent like an L, shaped like an old
god’s crooked elbow, decorated with clotheslines
heavy with wash— Nearly thirty, I skidded down
your last few meters in reverse, learning to drive
a stick shift and nearly knocking over the island
of trash bins swarming with tribes of blue-black
flies. The neighbors came to their front steps
to heckle and hoot, disturbing the chickens
kept in rusted cages in each yard: the way
they carried on with cackling, you’d think
there was an egg thief in the trees. Almost
a lifetime since I’ve left, but still I see the vivid
verdigris of rusted roofs, the graveled lane
where children sat in empty lading boxes,
then tilted themselves into the wind—
And so have I. Years later, I startle
from sleep or wakeful dream, thinking
the dwarf yellow sun brings artifacts
from that other time: a map, directions
written in code by unfaithful gods.
In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.
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.