From Empire: Triolet for Daughters Born in a Third World Country

4

As the elders taught, I saved the stumps of their umbilical cords,
then dried and strung them through a safety pin to keep them close.
And I named them, oiled their limbs, called the spirits to watch over them—
As the elders taught, I dried and saved the stumps of their umbilical cords.
As they grew, they saw how life cuts through the gourd; I gave them words
for power stirred from the gut, words for kindness, words to dress like bones.
As the elders taught, I saved the stumps of their umbilical cords,
then dried and strung them through a safety pin to keep them close.

 

In response to Via Negativa: Homeless.

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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 (forthcoming, 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, hand-binds books, and listens to tango music.

2 Comments


  1. I like your triolet, Luisa. I once knew a family who lived next door to us who had dried stumps of umbilical cords in a tiny sack hanging by their bed post.

    Reply

  2. Hey, Luisa. Hey, Geno. Good job with the triolet … they always faze me. But what I’ve learned from your poem here is to use a longer line. Cool!

    Reply

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