“…Mothers weep in the corners of those paintings
while a man, each morning, sweeps the church floor.”
~ Connie Voisine, “The Altar” by George Herbert

Every day, dirt prints on the kitchen floor,
and under the furniture, thick new pelts
of dust. Perhaps this detritus that gathers

is the sediment of dried-up tears? Taking out
the trash and pushing the bin against the far end
of the driveway, I see petite roses in bloom.

Blood-red, pressed between the fence and the water
meter. Pitimini, once I heard a woman call them:
she made floral arrangements for the church, came in

the side door of the rectory, careful to take off
her shoes and coat in the vestibule. Unrolling sheets
of newsprint on tile, she laid out ferns, divided

showy chrysanthemums from tall gladioli; and, finishing,
tucked the slighter blooms in between the hardier stems—
baby’s breath, those miniature roses. Her hands did not seem

to mind delving into their cache of sharp hooks,
guiding scratchy stems into clear vases filled with water.
I cannot remember whether she was Isabel, or Delia, or Florinda.

She came to freshen the flowers every other day, before the sun
was up. I don’t know why the ghost of her name meets me here
at the end of the driveway, pointing out the flowers.


In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

Series Navigation← RiftGhazal: Some ways to live →

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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