Gypsy Heart

Every once in a while the branches part
and there is a gleaming splinter of light–

just enough to nick the rough bark, make it seem
like the scritch of a match head had birthed

its copper sides and these rich, fluttering
halos of green. Hard to court abundance,

hard to keep it— And yet, here is a feather
left behind by the crested bird, the silken pods

from the honey locusts, vermillion threads
pulled from the frayed tapestry: what surged

like ripeness once, continues to show its face—
shy homeless waif, knocking again on your door.


In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

Series Navigation← Bird Looking One Way, Then AnotherLike the Warbler →

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.

One Reply to “Gypsy Heart”

  1. Hard to court abundance, /hard to keep it— . . .what surged/
    like ripeness once, continues to show its face—/ shy homeless waif, knocking again on your door.


    When you gave up on dreams we gathered
    like hoarded heartaches haplessly heaped

    in darkened rooms we have long abandoned,
    we stitched close a gaping wound of hurts

    hurled helter skelter in a frenzy of fearsome
    faithlessness we found were a fool’s scimitar.

    O, corazon triste! O, corazon de Gitana!
    A sad, miserable heart is a gypsy heart!

    Beware this desolate heart, when it is hard
    to find and hard to keep: when it surges, as

    it must defiantly burst into a pulsing geyser
    of desire, it will not spare the idle, hardened

    heart. Surging like the ripeness it once was,
    it continues to show its face—a scrawny waif,

    shy and homeless, incessantly knocking,
    insistently rapping at your bolted door.

    You leave it ajar, and it creeps in like the fog
    that chilled your heart once, it lingers, it chokes

    your still smarting heart with a frisson
    of a joie d’couer.You take him in for the night

    and in the coldness of a morning after, phantom
    that it was, leaps out of your window, and leaves.

    —Albert B. Casuga

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