Chainus

Eveline Chainus Guirey, Queen of the Benguet Carnival in 1915
Eveline Chainus Guirey, Queen of the Benguet Carnival in 1915

Where is your silver tea set, that gown of fine
embroidered silk, its train of gauze?

Ropes of pearl wound at your neck,
your tiara’s ruby diadem offset by the dark

waterfall of your hair— so self-
possessed, your bearing wrought by mountain

life, cold air, knowledge of the vengeful gods
whose hungers root, white and deep, hard

within the writhing animal’s entrails.
Askance, you look upon the roaring crowd

at carnival, eight thousand strong who’ve come
to gape at such uncommon beauty. You know the fog

will sift and bloom through centuries,
lay cloudy vermeil upon dissolving bones.

And we wonder if, beneath the city streets
breast-plated with garbage, the blood of some

old sacrifice still smolders, slow
flame the rain can’t quench.

 

In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

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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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