A man wakes in a city between
the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic.
He feels like a stranger in the sleeping
house. He wakes before first light,
before the first bird leaves the nest,
before the silence is broken by a rustle
in the leaves. His feet are cold
on the floor of this room, someone
else’s room. He wears his clothes
as if they were someone else’s.
Where has the bird flown? The man
dreams of being a swallow who can fly
to the roof of the world,
to its balconies tiled in warm
terra cotta. Does he also dream
that his daughters are swallows
with green bead eyes, that their wings
cut out of silver paper and strung
with flowers, ring the walls with their
bright cries? In the grey stillness of dawn,
shut your eyes in the room like a man
without sight: tell me if this way,
you hear more acutely the signal of wings,
the small lift of air underneath each stroke.
(for Jim Pascual Agustin)
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.