Dark silhouettes of pine, valleys fanned out
as open-sided buses crest the ridge at dawn.

Frost-trails of breath lingering on the coldest
morning of the month so far. Tin shanties hold

their chilled sides close along the hills.
In one, a naked lightbulb: its tungsten

yellow glow above a kitchen sink,
where a grandmother is heating coffee

and putting the eggs in it to boil.
You glimpse her in the window as the bus

rolls by— lit end of her cigar
poised in her mouth, eyes scanning

the day for what warmth it will bring.


In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

Series Navigation← MobiusLandscape, Roofs Edged with Evening Rain →

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.

5 Replies to “Harbinger”

  1. You glimpse her in the window as the bus/rolls by— lit end of her cigar
    poised in her mouth, eyes scanning/the day for what warmth it will bring.


    They will come home today, I know that.
    It is the coldest morning this month.

    That’s when they come and feast on my
    rice cakes, that’s when they come.

    They will build a little manger in the grove,
    out of banana stalks and dried leaves.

    Look at that, I burned my lips with the lit end
    of my cigar. Could be an omen. Who is ill?

    Great Kannoyan, god of my fathers, protect
    my little ones, I need them to come home.

    On this cold morning, I hope I could share
    brewed rice coffee with them before I go.

    — Albert B. Casuga

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