It is better to be here
rather than anywhere else,
better to watch the wind
gusting through the trees

from behind glass, better
to drowse on the wooden bench
indoors in the chapel open
to all travelers than out

in the park where the water
has frozen in the fountain—
And it is better to find
a lucky penny on the floor

outside the washroom
than under the rim
of the urinal, better
to fill your water

bottle at the tap
than buy expensive
bottled— Better
to shun the noise

of a thousand
chattering voices
for a quiet hour in
an alcove, better

to lie on a woven mat
smelling of wood-smoke
than on an old mattress
that has not been

certified without fleas—
And I could think of any
number of things it would
be better to be

than other kinds
of things, but you
would agree it is better
when sleep overtakes you,

not sorrow; when joy
is a seed the wind could loft
into the air and you could
think it possible to follow—


In response to Via Negativa: Ash Wednesday.

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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