Bearing Fire

We get up to rain and fog; or rather,
smoke— the swamp still burning

in the month-long aftermath of
lightning strike. Not even a hurricane

could put it out. Whatever else one
might say, it is a form of dedication.

Name your materials, then: peat and fossils;
ethyl alcohol, grains soaked and swirled

in a silo of glass. Little clutch of wood
shavings; cone of paper, puff of breath.

Coals in a tempered dish. Some light
to take you past the midnight hour.

At a conference many years ago,
a Persian poet I didn’t even know

looked at me and said, Your stomach
is tight; don’t try too hard

And it’s true. Don’t we want,
so many times every day, to unclench?

The world looms close. Only look up
at the brilliant fall sky

and the silver gleam of a plane
glancing off the buildings.

Somewhere in the woods, a bright
clearing where a tree came down.


In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

Series Navigation← GleaningThe Summer of the Angel of Death →

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.

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