Heart Weighted With Cares

“The feeling heart does not tire of carrying
ballast.” ~ Jane Hirshfield

But at the end of the day it does
want to complain, even just a little—

so long having borne the heft of metallic
plates, having had to stand in a stream

of electric current in order to stabilize
its flow. Beneath the train tracks,

layers of crushed rock and gravel; and on
each ship that cruises past the harbor,

weights of wood to keep the sails aloft.
It isn’t easy trying to be always

good, always generous, choosing virtue
over selfishness or spite. And there are

so many gaps in each day, so little time
to get all of it right. Even the leaves

of the tiny heal-all have turned into orange-
tinged lace, now riddled with holes. How long

have I been trying to make a little more time
every day? After the dishes are washed,

I chop and slice, cube and simmer two more
dinners to freeze. I tell myself, If I do

Saturday’s laundry now perhaps I can actually
have a weekend
; or, If I stay up to finish

this report, perhaps I can get a full night’s sleep
. And through all this, the weightier

demands of time filter through the practical
work of minds and hands: suffering and longing,

desires that have not yet been met. Some days,
the heart is exhausted before it can even lay

itself in the arms of sleep or love;
most days it peels back the covers

and pushes itself again into its shoes—
thick, sensible soles made for work

or walking, anchors to keep the body
dreaming of flight, close to the ground.


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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