Essay on White

“Could it be, …that radiance tires of itself?” ~ D. Bonta

Albumen sheen, not the asphalt that is
bitumen— Yes to radish-tinted, textured,

coarse linen; or to carded fibers not yet
dipped in dye. I hanker for the simple:

effortless grace unaware of itself,
flaws braided into the weave;

grain stenciled without apology or
hurt across the surfaces of wood…

Impossible to list, catalog,
jot down all occurrences

known to us, of white— Ecru, stucco,
lace formed by webs of frost on cold

mornings; iridescent inner lining,
nacre coating the dark lips of mollusks.

Overlay of primer on blank canvas,
patience before the first drawn breath of

qi. (Not that radiance hasn’t been appropriated,
reduced to cliche, some current and marketable

shorthand.) Still, I understand— How
tiresome it must be to wear the same

unblemished habit, always be the pearlized
vellum that stones must try to skip across.

Wanting has more variegated colors;
exits are rarely lettered in pastel.

You know the garish red of Stop and Danger signs; and
zebra stripes that tell us where to cross the street.


In response to Via Negativa: Fulgurite.

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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