Ghazal: Some ways to live

One summer we hiked to my grandfather’s farm. Ninety degrees in the shade, sandaled
feet stumbling in carabao dung. I did my best to look as if I knew how to live.

Five days a week I used to teach in the capital, six hours from home. Riding the midnight
bus, I saw families huddled in sleep by the underpass; how was this a way to live?

Every now and then I’ll remember something with a start, like fruit I had in childhood.
Bell-shaped macopa: red skin, cool, spongy hearts. Their taste, hard to re-live.

A cross between indigo and purple— this is the star apple’s signature. A five-
fingered flower, pulp thick and sweet, encasing the seed that might live.

The waiter brings my usual bowl of noodles in clear broth, a pair of battered shrimp.
For the umpteenth time I tell him: soup spoon, not ladle— the mouth’s hinges would give!

I love the way light moves across surfaces: the floor beneath the bay becoming
honey, water rippling itself and what holds it in. A window’s essential, to live.

In a darkened room I stretch out and practice: slow down my breathing, arrange arms
straight by my sides. Imagine how cells quit movement, the compulsion to live.


In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

Series Navigation← DevotionsWhat heart heard of, ghost guessed: →

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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