Clearing

And afterwards? Didn’t the air carry a burnt sugar and cinnamon smell, even as the cinders stopped falling? You came out relatively unscathed, dammit. Which is more than can be said for others like you. Did you stop to give a thought about whose bones lay about in the cage or under the table where you crouched, where they thought you could be kept until you burst out of your skin from boredom or angst or misery, or all of the above? The hunger hasn’t gone away, has it? I’m not talking about cheap fashion made in China or Bangladesh, or shiny new electronics. The witch always wants what makes the music. Not the heart but the fire in the belly. Let me tell you about the rivers that rose beyond their jelly-colored banks to drown everyone in the sleeping town. Sweet children at the breast. Grandmothers in their hammocks. Under the sheets, fathers’ gnarly hands reaching for something softer than the handle of a hammer or the back of a plane. Watch that cardinal in the bush, sitting nearly motionless for a good ten minutes now. Even in that thimbleful of time, the instinct to take panicked flight is stilled: bright firecracker, urgent red of its triangle cap like a post-it note on a branch— You could read it from a mile away. And when it flies off, give thanks because you can.

 

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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