This is all you have, this life, this patch of ground marked by wood and water, a little strand of caterpillar silk caught on low shrubs at the wood’s edge. Everything happens here, or doesn’t happen, or is about to change. Shadows lift at dawn, noon strikes the top of the stone cherub’s head in the middle of the square. Pigeons blend in among the cobblestones. It’s not much, you think: a sleepy town, the cats in the alley, the same old men playing chess in the park; the row of tailor shops, the bakers pitching bread into the fire. The loaves get a little smaller every year, though they remain as sweet. The lovers with only one place to walk. The seawall. The pier. The post office at one end of the main street, the market at the other. Rain drips down every house post and gutter. Flowers and whitewash on grave markers. You can leave if you want, rent a room in some city crisscrossed by wires and steel. On every rooftop, gargoyles opening their mouths to the rain, drinking it all in but never filling, never filled. Crossing the street, you turn, distracted by a scent— flowering wisteria, japonica, spilling their urgent message over a stone boundary. Nothing leaves, merely decants to color, to sediment, to underlying pulse.


In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

Series Navigation← Clear bulb of coral inside a paper shade,Private: Translucent in the sun, the laurel is a blaze of gloss— →

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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