Heart you Want to Lead in from the Cold

What might have been a heart
whose warm outlines were seared

in the clay— What might have
searched through dank underbrush

for a homing beacon, some fingerprint
flecked with gold— But for now you hear

only the naked blade of a voice, keening
among the brambles, rending its hair

and beating its breast in the fetid
air. Doesn’t it sing this way only

because it’s known the difference? Easier
to chide or scold, spurn it and say it reeks

of pure ungratefulness. Who’d want to marry it,
take it to sup at table, to warmth in the bed?

Wings like glass windows whose sections are soldered
cellophane, the yellow hoverfly courts the bloom

on the stalk. Remember it eats of brittle matter
long decayed; but also of pollen, nectar.


In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

Series Navigation← Petition to FullnessUnending Lyric →

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.

2 Replies to “Heart you Want to Lead in from the Cold”

  1. Doesn’t it sing this way only /because it’s known the difference?…/ Remember it eats of brittle matter/long decayed; but also of pollen, nectar.


    It has known the difference, known it well,
    between the cold dark air and sunlit gardens,
    and it will take them all in like bricks around
    it, impregnable: she will mend these cuts
    though they have run through. She will wince
    but she will be new. These shards would not
    hurt her. It has known the painful difference.

    “Shall I walk you through my rose gardens?
    Cup a blossom in your hands gently, beware
    the guardian thorns, they are its sharp lances.”
    It has known the canon of beauty and virtue:
    where you are hapless, feign courage, it will
    grow unto you like vines binding your broken
    pieces, then sit you tall on a throne of roses.

    —Albert B. Casuga

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