“…turning course of a river that goes curving,
advances and retreats, goes roundabout,
arriving forever:”

~ Octavio Paz, “Sun Stone”


Tear at the wood of the dead cherry
all you want, my little frenzied ones.
Tear at the bark of linden too,
reduce to rot the peeling wood
in the neighbor’s gazebo; flay the ivy
to pieces, sunder the jasmine from
its vine. More things than these
are inexorable, more hungers sharpen
their tongues than the points
of those fledgling spears. What is it
that you want? What are you looking for?
The wind loves all surfaces, not just mine.
But we take down the deck chairs anyway,
we fold the beach umbrellas, we board up
the windows against the coming storm.
How did it come to be that resistance
is in such gestures, and not in the willow
bending its crystal leaflets to the water,
not in the bird that petrifies the forest
with its singing
? The wind, yes, the wind:
it is the song in a burning building, the sidle
of a sigh along the throat because I held
the sound of your name too long under
a skim of water. I give it up to the air
again now, I turn my palms upwards as I
should have done. What else is there to do?

~ & with thanks to Lila Shahani for the Octavio Paz reminder



In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

Series Navigation← Landscape, with Summer BonfiresFire-stealer →

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.

One Reply to “Yield”


    What is he looking for? Why does he want?
    It is the unfinished in him that wants
    to be whole when there is something
    to build from: are there dreams there?
    How often do they come true? Do they?
    Or is he perhaps like the river course,
    streamed where water may over stones,
    debris, carcasses, and carrion of the dead,
    forever moving to the mouth of the sea
    always arriving where it will never return.
    Why does he want to return where he
    cannot? The dirt of his tomb is real enough.
    What does he want beyond the hole where
    he will lie dead as dead can be? Her body.

    —Albert B. Casuga

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