Elegy, even after 22 years

My father, we did not know then it would be the last day of your life. But you struggled into your slippers and your bathrobe the warm, dusky-gold of corn; and you came and stood in the doorway, holding on to the wooden frame for ballast. How long did you stand there, more wispy than a plume of smoke, simply gazing over the rest of us huddled on two beds? We’d pushed them together, exhausted from going days without sleep through the aftershocks that rocked the city. The upright piano had moved to the far end of the living room. The china cabinet sounded crystal chimes as if from afar, but nearer than the drone of rescue helicopters fracturing the dark. No one dared to light candles for fear of setting the house on fire. No one dared to unfasten their shoes. I’ve written this over and over, composing and revising, revising and composing, trying to return to that elusive fold of time, those last few hours before your body stiffened and your eyes turned silver-grey, the color of a clear but frozen lake. Even as nurses tried to revive you where you lay on a pallet in the hospital wing, your spirit had started its journey. Out of that valley it rose, rising above earthquake ruins, rising higher than the limestone rocks; rising, still, as seasons changed and pools of sleeping fish warmed back to life.

 

In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

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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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