Malleable heart, mouth open to the sky and rain,/my discipline is to learn your one singing note—/to fish it out of the depths of a fountain like a penny/someone tossed there long ago, or like the sun/in hiding.—“Singing Bowl”, Luisa A. Igloria


Is it your one singing note that I am deaf to,
one you have always kept unsung, unheard?

How deep must I plunge into the whirlpool
that your malleable heart has hidden, unmarked,

uncharted, like uncollected coins grown old
in a broken fountain, tokens of desire or whimsy?

Dare I fish it out, this one uncollected penny,
from what depths it has reached in that well?

When you tossed it away, it was best forgotten
like some wilted petals in a convent’s breviary.

I have coveted that one note, I have haunted
the barnacled wayside fountain, brackish now,

where you must have thrown it like a shrug
one winter over your cold uncovered shoulder.

In spring thaw, I could see it again, leaden
and rusty as the sun hidden by some penumbra,

and I must collect it now, make it sparkle
once again, rub it on my sleeve, and wrap it

until I could wheedle from its sheen that
one note you have always kept unsung, unheard.

—Albert B. Casuga