The woman in the cafe wearing red lipstick that matches her red boatneck sweater under a grey raincoat says, The poet is someone who is more a voice overheard, not speaking directly. Not spoken to, of, for. If I hold my head like this, if I hold my head perfectly still, if I hold my head aslant. There is a whiff of a voice that curls from the next table like a wisp of cigarette smoke, though smoking has been banned from restaurants and other such public places. Slide a white porcelain cup filled with hot coffee across the oily film of the counter. Run a fingernail across the velvet-covered upholstery and everything is still there: summer’s burnt caramel and diesel, morning’s toast; sriracha, lemon drop, partly sucked licorice whip. Above the curtains I can watch the sun move through a sky shorn of wildness, which is what some might mean when they say untrammeled. She is right, then. About lyric being a form of lilting paraphrase. Shorthand written in pencil, never ink. Code produced by the faithful stenographer. Careful. A stroke in the wrong place makes unintended meaning. But more, also. If it is spare, it prepares for tenderness. At least, the promise of a listening.
In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.
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.