What is the story you keep trying to tell,
the thread that keeps poking through
the fabric of every poem you write?
The setting might change, the season,
the number of figures in the tableau,
the time of day— Perhaps there is
a deer standing in dim light at the edge
of the woods, her ears swiveling toward
the east, where plumes of dark smoke
are rising and where her fawn has lost
his way. Perhaps there is a king
who has taken to his bed, and three
sons or daughters who must cross seven
hills to bring back the song of a bird;
thread a bolt of silk through a needle;
breathe stone statues back to life.
Perhaps there is the eternal lover— man
or woman, it does not matter which—
who patiently scours the earth to piece
back the other’s severed limbs, or journeys
to the afterworld to lead her back, now
ransomed. Whatever it is, this
thread colors everything: lures you
forward through the dark like a trail
of crumbs that gleam in moonlight, fans
open in the underbrush like a hundred
feathered eyes; dulls all the senses
but the one which knows to bend toward
the banks of the jelly river, knows
to listen for the dangerous sound
of feet in pursuit; hungers for good,
bright scents of milk and bread and water,
rising above gingerbread, blood, or bone.
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.