The Beloved Asks

How do I know you
have returned?

The ruffs that soften
around the necks of daffodils.

The arrogant bees
lording it over the trellis.

Bursts of pollen, tell-tale marks
like gunpowder on sleeves of pavement.

In the dark I hear the frogs again,
whetting their voices on cold creek stones.

Most of all that tendril of clear
uncertainty: knowing what could be lost.


In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

Series Navigation← GlintLetter to Longing →

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.

5 Replies to “The Beloved Asks”

  1. How do I know you/have returned?/…Most of all that tendril of clear/uncertainty: knowing what could be lost.


    When you returned, your children told stories to each other again:
    Remember when you’d throw us up into the air and land on waves
    bigger than mountains? Remember how you’d swim to us laughing
    and we would cough up brine and yell: that’s not funny, you know.
    Remember where you left the chocolate bars for noche buena and
    how they’d melted underneath Mom’s pillow, and O, you laughed!
    Remember why we hid the goat that was to grace your birthday,
    and you laughed that we saved a life on your birthday? Billy. Billy.
    Billy, we called out for him feigning ignorance of a coy conspiracy.
    Like spring, if it never comes, there would be no laughter coming
    from that corner where your rocking chair remains empty. Sundown
    would bring some such uncertain question murmured: Remember?
    When you returned, I knew what I had lost. Like an absent spring.

  2. Luisa: Without slighting any of your amazing variations on MP, I must add my wow for this one. The neck ruff, lordly arrogance, the whetting of sharps and the gunpower pollen: all so nicely suggest Romeo and Juliet, with modern weapons but perhaps the same ending.

    Heavens I love the gunpowder pollen. That’s one sure indicator of a poem’s power: does it change the way you see.

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